Who pays the costs of road closures and transportation when high-ranking government officials and foreign dignitaries visit a U.S. city?
It is costly to bring a high-ranking government official or a foreign dignitary to a city. Some of the costs associated with a visit of this type include security, law enforcement, economic disruption, and the paid work time of government officials who are working on this visit. In almost all cases, the taxpayers of the city, county, or state pay these costs. Law enforcement officials need to secure roads and close them for a period of time while the dignitary or high-ranking official is traveling on them. This costs money. Since public law enforcement officials are paid by tax money, the citizens are paying this cost. The same is true for the government workers who are working on the details of the visit. This is done on paid time while on the job. These people also are paid by tax money from the citizens. Businesses may have an indirect cost if the road closures slow their business or disrupt their business for a period of time. However, such a visit by a famous person may generate revenue for the city, county, or state as well as for business owners and the economy. Therefore, while there are costs associated with the visit of a high-ranking official or foreign dignitary, there also are benefits that come from such a visit. The Pope’s visit is very expensive for government agencies, yet his visit is generating lots of income for business owners and the economy of the places he is visiting. Much of the income generated is taxed in some way, and some of this money goes to the government. There are costs and benefits to the type of visit you have described.