The Los Angeles Public Works Board voted Monday to seek proposals from private firms interested in hauling trash out of the city by truck or rail as an alternative to using Sunshine Canyon Landfill.
The board action came in response to recommendations of a task force formed by Mayor James K. Hahn to seek alternatives to Sunshine Canyon, which its owners want to expand into Granada Hills in the San Fernando Valley.
"We want to see what is out there," board member Adriana Rubalcava said.
"What we are doing is being proactive and exploring our options."
Hahn's task force recommended that the city develop a strategy to diminish and eventually eliminate reliance on landfills within the city by June 2006, when the city's contract with Sunshine expires.
The board agreed Monday to ask companies to submit information showing they are qualified to haul trash out of the city, after which the city would solicit proposals from the most experienced firms.
It may turn out that the proposals will be politically unpalatable.
It costs the city $23 per ton to dump trash in Sunshine Canyon, while hauling the waste out of the city could cost $50 or $60 per ton, according to Enrique Zaldivar, assistant director of the city's Sanitation Bureau.
However, Rubalcava said the proposals will at least give officials data needed to make a decision on the various options.
"This would actually put a price to it," she said.