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Mayor's Speech: Getting Serious About Rail

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Mayor Villaraigosa addressed his third State of the City at the LAPD's Parker Center last night, focusing in on gangs and the city budget, but also with some other talking points that were worth noting:

  • On public transit: "Our national leaders must rethink the balance of our spending on highways vs. subways. It's time to recognize that the only true solution to long-term to gridlock in Los Angeles or anywhere else in the country is an efficient, convenicent mass transit alternatuve. And it's time to get serious about investing rail again." He mentions the Subway to the Sea and the Regional Connector (bolding added for emphasis).
  • On pollution, especially from the harbor: In 5 years, pollution at the LA Port will be down by 45%. Children in South LA don't have to choke on asthma for a few extra pennies on big corporate profit margins, he said.
  • On planting a million trees: "We've learned a lot," he explained with a big smile. The goal of one million trees planted hasn't "exactly" been reached. By the end of the year, the count will be at 140,000.
  • On crime statistics: We are the safest we've been since the 1950s. Without saying it, he was referring to population and ratio comparisons.
  • Street resurfacing and potholes: He will protect pothole repair and is expanding street resurfacing by 50 miles in the next budget cycle (up to 720 miles a year). Street resurfacing is one of the most requested and talked about city services from homeowners.
  • Pedestrians: There was a small mention about diagonal crosswalks, but no further details.
  • Planning & Growth: The last two years have been the best years for growth in Los Angeles, he said referring to his administration. Look out for the third best year.
  • Budget: The city faces a $406 million dollar deficit, expect cuts in city departments and the public to bear their share (higher trash fees again). Police and fire budgets will be protected.Photo by Damian Dovarganes/AP