The Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority issued a request for proposals today that seeks a company to deliver a report on DART funding options by Sept. 30.

DART is looking at long-term options to keep financially sound as area communities approach a limit on the property tax levy that provides a large part of the agency's revenue.

The Partnership agreed to back a study of different ways the improvements and operations envisioned in DART Forward 2035 could be financed, based in part on the experiences of other cities. In addition, the regional Capital Crossroads' vision plan called for "a fully efficient transportation network with complete and connected mobility options."

The Partnership notes that while area residents have firmly supported improved mass transit and mobility options, they have worried about where the money would come from.

The wide-ranging study calls for the chosen company to analyze private and public sources of cash and options used in other cities — including ones that would take new state legislation in Iowa. The Partnership asks for "a long list of potential funding sources" that apply to various service scenarios, as well as a tool that describes "revenue yield, ease of implementation and administration, legal hurdles and stability." The company will be asked to provide more detail on the most promising options.

The study will look into how adding more member communities — or losing some — would affect finances.

The Partnership is accepting questions about the solicitation through noon March 22. Questions and answers will be available through March 27. Proposals must be submitted electronically by 3 p.m. March 31. The contact is Andrea Woodard, director of public policy, Greater Des Moines Partnership, 700 Locust St. Ste. 100, Des Moines, Ia. 50309. Her number is 515-286-4924; fax 515-286-4902.