“30/10″ Plan: The right track for transportation

According to Charles Chieppo of the Harvard Kennedy School, Los Angeles County appears eager to learn from mistakes made in transportation funding over the last twenty years — such as the Boston “Big Dig” highway project that has amassed $8.6 billion in debt and a $4.5 billion maintenance backlog.

Under the county’s “30/10” plan, twelve mass transit projects that would normally take thirty years to build will be completed in ten. This reduced timeframe will be achieved by securing federal loans and long-term bonds for the full project costs up-front. Collateral for the loans will be provided by Measure R — legislation that increased sales tax in the county by 0.5% and committed the $40 billion in additional revenue over the next 30 years to transportation upgrades. Measure R focuses on holistic transportation funding: “Rather than treating each mode and its advocates as a silo, the proceeds will fund rail, bus, bus rapid transit and highway improvements. Transportation customers don’t think in terms of roads vs. transit; they just want to get where they’re going in a safe and reliable manner,” says Chieppo.

For more, see the op-ed in Governing.