Preview of Friday’s Task Force Meeting on Local Transportation Funding Options

LADOTBikeBlogFlickrSpring1st

Funding needs for capital improvements, operations programs, and maintenance projects exist for all modes of transportation on our city streets. Photo credit: LADOT Bike Blog

Our next Mobility Element Task Force Meeting, scheduled for this Friday, January 25, 2013, will focus on sustainable local transportation infrastructure funding strategies. In addition to finding sustainable funding resources for new capital projects, one of the fundamental questions facing the City is how we will fund the ongoing operations and maintenance costs of new and existing improvements.

You may be wondering why we need to discuss local funding sources for transportation when we have regional voter-approved sources, such as Measure R, that are solely dedicated to transportation. We are seeking local sources because regional sources like Measure R fund the regional transportation system. While each jurisdiction receives a local return from the sales tax measure to help fund local programs, this, and other state and federal funding pots available for transportation covers only a fraction of the City’s capital, operations and maintenance needs. Also, state and federal transportation funding almost always require a local match – the more local match, the more attractive the application will be in the competition for scare infrastructure dollars.

While it’s important to identify funding solutions for each of the discrete portions of our transportation system, given the inherent interrelationship between the various transportation components it may ultimately prove more efficient to look at funding transportation improvements in a more holistic manner.  For example, the $3 billion bond measure for street repair exclusively covered the repair of the roadway bed. And while maintaining our existing paved roadway system is critical it would be more productive, for example, to align our roadway paving efforts with broader City objectives for pedestrian improvements as well as implementation of the proposed Transit- and Bicycle-Enhanced Networks. The Mobility Element Update provides an opportunity to have a citywide dialog about how the City can best meet its current and future capital improvements, operations, and maintenance obligations in a holistic and sustainable way.

With presentations from leading voices in local transportation financing solutions, we are aiming to answer the following questions:

Does it make sense for the City to pursue a local sustainable transportation infrastructure funding source?

How should the new source be integrated with potential other local funding options that are currently being discussed – i.e. Street Repair and Safety General Obligation Bond Program and County Mitigation Fee (project based)?

What strategies make the most sense for the City?

What should the funds be used for? (operations, maintenance, capital improvements)

To what extent should this new potential source cover our needs – 20%? 100%?

What are our next steps?

This conversation is intended to be the beginning of a discussion to find sustainable funding solutions for our City’s transportation infrastructure needs. The meeting will take place on Friday, January 25th, from 9:30 AM to noon. If you can’t join us, tune into our blog next week for a summary of the conversation and next steps that will be discussed at Friday’s meeting. Contact Jane Choi at jane.choi@lacity.org or 213-978-1194 for more meeting details.

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