The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is developing requests for proposals (RFPs) for three transit projects funded by Measure M, a regional half-cent tax increase that voters approved in 2016, according to The Source. The agency is pursuing public-private partnerships (P3s) for all three.
The RFPs will be based in part on unsolicited P3 proposals Metro received for the projects from the private sector earlier this year, the Architect's Newspaper reported. Those projects are the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor and an expansion of the agency's ExpressLanes system.
Metro officials are looking to P3s for the potential to channel private-industry innovation and to achieve a faster delivery than past construction projects.
Three-quarters of Americans said they'd be willing to pay higher taxes or tolls to fund infrastructure improvements as long as they can be sure that's what the money is being used for, according to a recent HNTB poll. Even more said they'd support the idea if those projects were backed by legal mandates for how the funds could be used. Roughly three-quarters of respondents also backed the use of P3s to complete that work.
The results of a Bloomberg poll earlier this year reflected a similar attitude toward infrastructure funding. Just over half of respondents (55%) supported an increase in the federal gas tax if they could be assured the money would improve the roads they traveled.
Federal lawmakers are warming up to the idea of raising the federal gas tax, which is currently 18.4 cents per gallon and hasn't changed since 1993. The gas tax feeds the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which allocates the lion's share of money for state and local transportation projects. Lawmakers are also considering per-mile charges and additional sales and tire taxes to grow the HTF's coffers.
While the federal government has long been hesitant to increase the gas tax, many states haven't been so hesitant in raising theirs. California lawmakers, for example, approved an increase of 12 cents per gallon earlier this year to help pay for a $52 billion state infrastructure improvement program. Indiana legislators recently approved an extra 10 cents per gallon, which would increase by 1 cent each year for seven years, to help fund its $5 billion infrastructure initiative.