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.