Mayor Villaraigosa in DC pushing for transportation funding

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks at a press conference on April 1, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was in Washington, D.C., today for a meeting of the US Conference of Mayors. He used the trip to push once more for early funding for transportation projects.

When he visits Washington, Antonio Villaraigosa has one thing on his mind: transportation. He wants to build a series of L.A. County subway and rail lines in 10 years instead of 30. He says it can happen if the federal government OKs loans, loan guarantees or other creative financing.

The mayor says he was encouraged after speeches by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and a White House representative.

"Both of them referenced the 30/10 initiative as a template for infrastructure investment," he says. "I had the opportunity to present on behalf of all the mayors the need for innovative financing, the importance of thinking outside of the box."

Villaraigosa is the vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He says mayors from about a dozen other cities have road, rail or bridge projects in the works — and they’re all interested in the 30/10 proposal. He calls it “the urgency of now.”

Villaraigosa returns to Washington next week to testify at a Congressional hearing on transportation funding.

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