Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said his goal to speed up construction of 12 transit projects and ease congestion in the second-biggest U.S. city requires â€œcreativeâ€ funding help from Washington.
Villaraigosa is pushing a plan to complete about $20 billion of subway and rail-line work by 2019, 20 years sooner than an initial estimate by Los Angeles Countyâ€™s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The mayor said heâ€™ll seek a funding advance from the U.S. government against future local sales tax revenue, along with federal grant money.
You know what I’m going to say — if you’re interested in raising money for transit, reducing congestion, and building a transit ridership base then you might want to consider congestion pricing.
Which isn’t to say that the federal government shouldn’t be kicking in a hefty share for projects like this. What would be really smart would be for the feds to say, look, we want to get the most out of our investment, and that requires you to increase user costs on congested roads. That will ensure a better distribution of people across modes, and it will mean that you have enough money to properly maintain and, if necessary, expand your transportation systems. Make cities an offer they can’t refuse; say you’ll pay for any project that makes sense according to a set of reasonable criteria — in full — so long as local governments begin pricing congested roads.