By Wes May ECA Executive Director Email: [email protected]
The reason the Engineering Contractors’ Association changed its focus to “go local” nearly three years ago was the urgent need of our members to capture a greater share of infrastructure construction projects in our 12-county area.
Measure M, which will be on the ballot November 8th, will increase funding for Los Angeles County road, bridge and rail improvements—there is nothing more local than that—and we urge our members and the entire construction industry to vote Yes on this most important effort.
Measure M will be funded by a half-cent increase in the local sales tax in the county. In return, the measure will offer the following opportunities for our members:
- Major improvements to the freeway system to ease traffic congestion, improve freeway traffic flow and reduce bottlenecks.
- Repave local streets, repair potholes, and synchronize signals; improve neighborhood streets and intersections, and enhance bike and pedestrian connections.
- Earthquake-retrofit bridges, and keep the transit and highway system safe and in good working condition.
- Expand rail and rapid transit system; accelerate rail construction and build new rail lines; enhance local, regional, and express bus service; and improve system connectivity.
Measure M is going to offer other benefits as well, including embracing technology and innovation to improve transportation and providing additional accountability and transparency to protect and monitor the public’s investments through independent audits and oversight.
Most importantly for our industry, Measure M will create jobs, reduce pollution by reducing congestion and generate local economic benefits for all businesses.
Local Funding for Local Work
One of the best features of Measure M is that it is a locally- controlled funding mechanism. The plans for the projects are developed here, where we can have a voice in the process. Control of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) is vested in locally elected public officials, people we know and talk with on a regular basis.
Measure M thus frees, to a certain extent, our local projects from the vagaries of federal and state funding, where virtually nothing gets done without a monumental effort. The Congress took five full years to pass a new federal highway funding bill and when they did, it did not offer any additional money. The state legislature has, for the past year, been in a “special session” to solve Caltrans’ funding decline with nothing yet to show for the effort.
Measure M will give us the local funding base to keep working while feds and the state sort out their priorities.
Vote Yes on M.