- The Los Angeles County Metrorail is contemplating using public-private partnerships (P3s) to speed up completion of critical transportation projects partially funded by a recently approved hike in the county sales tax, according to Curbed Los Angeles.
- Metrorail officials said leveraging the private sector for at least two "Measure M" projects — a light-rail link and an express lane-subway route — will shave 14 to 15 years off their schedules.
- Metrorail officials said they've received unsolicited P3 proposals from several prominent construction teams, including Skanska USA-Kiewit Infrastructure and Parsons Transportation Group-Cintra US Services, for two major projects — the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor and the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor.
Los Angeles County voters — by a 70% majority — gave Measure M the green light back in November. The initiative authorizes the county to collect an additional half-cent in sales taxes, which will exclusively fund a laundry list of mass transit projects. The measure is expected to generate $860 million each year and then an even greater amount in 2039 once Measure M's authorization to collect one extra cent in sales tax kicks in.
There's no doubt that Los Angeles officials are also thinking about their bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, as mass transit capability is an integral part of the city's application.
Government agencies are increasingly using P3s to take on large transportation projects, typically those with lengthy operations and maintenance components. Organizations like the American Road & Transportation Builders Association say P3s will continue to play a role in future projects, and they will aso, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, be a feature of President Donald Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Republicans and Trump, however, have a difficult task ahead if their goal is to convince Democrats that private investment is preferable to direct federal spending.
Measure M is partially financing the first-ever design-build highway project allowed by a new California state law, the Orange County Transportation Authority's $1.2 billion Interstate 405 lane expansion. Approximately 50% of all U.S. states now permit the design-build delivery method to be used on public projects.