Villaraigosa heads back to Washington to lobby for transportation money

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be back on Capitol Hill today to lobby for funds to accelerate a dozen local transportation projects.

The mayor, who was also in Washington, D.C., two weeks ago, will testify before the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee about his "30/10 initiative" – a proposal to build a dozen Measure R transportation projects in 10 years instead of 30.

The projects – including the so-called Subway to the Sea – are anticipated to cost a total of $20 billion. About $13 billion of that money would come from Measure R, a half-cent sales tax that Los Angeles County voters approved in 2008.

In a speech to the Los Angeles Business Council late last year, Villaraigosa said that "when we have workers hungry for high-quality jobs, companies that are ready to hire, the dirtiest air and the worst traffic congestion in the nation, 30 years is just too long."

He asserted in the same speech that speeding up the transportation projects would create a half-million jobs through 2020. In addition to the Westside subway extension, the projects include:

  • the light rail connector in downtown Los Angeles;
  • the Crenshaw corridor transit project;
  • the Foothill Extension of the Metro Gold Line;
  • Phase 2 of the Expo light rail line on the Westside;
  • the Green Line connection to LAX;
  • the Green Line connection to South Bay;
  • the San Fernando Valley 405 corridor connection;
  • the Orange Line Canoga extension;
  • the West Santa Ana branch corridor;
  • the San Fernando Valley North-South Rapidways; and
  • the Eastside Extension to El Monte or Whittier.
  • Villaraigosa was in Capitol Hill in late February, lobbying with about 30 other mayors for a bill aimed at creating jobs in their respective cities.

    He has traveled extensively since being sworn in for a second term July 1, with trips to South Africa, Iceland and Mexico, and a European journey in December with stops in Berlin, London and Copenhagen, Denmark.

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