Boxer, Villaraigosa push to spend more on decaying bridges, roads

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Senator Barbara Boxer joined Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Thursday to urge more federal spending on deteriorating California bridges and roads. The two emphasized President Barack Obama’s infrastructure jobs plan, saying it would help create work for tens of thousands of Californians.

The historic 6th Street Viaduct bridge is about 80 years old. It connects downtown L.A. with Boyle Heights and crosses a portion of the L.A. River. Cracks have formed in the structure’s concrete walls. Crews have already begun a $400 million project to repair the bridge.

“Seventy-thousand of our bridges in this country are deficient," Boxer said. "And 50 percent of our roads are not up to standard. And this is America, in the 21st century and that’s a recipe for not being a very strong, economic leader.”

Boxer said she’s headed to Washington, D.C. to push a mini jobs bill she crafted with fellow lawmakers to help deliver more needed federal dollars to infrastructure projects like this one.

“It will put hundreds of thousands of people to work right now," Boxer said. "It will inject $50 billion in one year into our economy. And to put that into perspective, that’s what we spend for a full year on our transportation programs.”

Villaraigosa emphasized that Democrat and Republican leaders are supporting the cause. “There is universal agreement among the conference of the mayors in support of the American Jobs Act," Villaraigosa said, "and support of the president's effort to invest in infrastructure.”

The bipartisan bill to reauthorize the nation's transportation programs and infrastructure development is up for a committee vote within the next couple of weeks.

The bipartisan legislation is up for a committee vote on Nov. 9.

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