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Villaraigosa Back in Washington D.C. for Public Transit Funding

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At the Red Line Subway Civic Center Station | Photo by delara-photos via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

At the Red Line Subway Civic Center Station | Photo by delara-photos via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made his way back to the U.S. Capitol today to testify before a congressional subcommittee on securing billions in funding for regional public transportation projects. It's the fourth trip so far on the sole topic.

The Mayor's 30/10 Plan would build 12 transit projects in 10 years instead of 30, which is the current schedule under the voter-approved Measure R sales tax increase. To achieve that goal, Villaraigosa is seeking full funding upfront from the federal government with a guarantee of paying it back.

"We're not only arguing for infrastructure investment on the federal level," Villaraigosa said to a group of House Ways & Means Committee members in regards to establishing a National Infrastructure Bank, according to Streetsblog Capitol Hill. "We're saying ... at a time of spiraling deficits, we've got to encourage local governments to put up their own money. We have done that [in L.A.]."

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Villaraigosa said the bank would not only a "jump start to our region," but also to the "nation's economic recovery."

Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell also testified. “We need a single entity in this country that can leverage dollars from state and local governments or the private sector, can focus on projects of regional and national significance, will remove politics from the process, subject all requests to a benefit-cost analysis, and do all of this in the brightest of sunlight, openness and transparency,” he said.

Villaraigosa has grown a large coalition of supporters that seems to be growing. Adding to the list of California representatives like Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Henry Waxman, is Congressmen Jim Oberstar (Minnesota), Peter DeFazio (Oregon), and Earl Blumenauer (Oregon).

“Each time I come to Washington DC," Villaragosa touted, "I can feel the support for 30/10 growing as people realize that we’re not looking for a handout. It’s never been done, but it’s doable."