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Villaraigosa Testifies to Senate Committee on Transit Funding

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Photo by Non Paratus via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by Non Paratus via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Mayor Antonio Villaragisoa sat before a Senate committee this morning in Washington D.C. and laid out his case to bring billions to Los Angeles in transportation money. And it's not free money he's looking for, it's a loan of up to $40 billion that would be paid back over the next 30 years from Measure R, the 2008 voter-approved sales tax increase.

"We think we can generate almost four billion dollars in savings in a ten year period of time due to the soft market, the fact that the unemployment rate in the construction industry particularly is as high as it is," Mayor Villaraigosa told the committee, according to KPCC

California Senator Barbara Boxer lauded the plan, saying it could be a model for cities across the country, noted Streetsblog Capitol Hill. "It would be foolish that we’ve got this opportunity now to save these funds that we just didn’t speed up this whole idea," she said.

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It's part of Villaraigosa's 30/10 plan--build 30 years worth of planned projects in 10 years. In all, that's 12 projects, including the Subway to the Sea.

Federal transportation under-secretary Roy Kienitz, however, warned that some federal programs could help secure this funding, but not 100% of it. "It’s not clear that any of these programs - either existing or as currently proposed - can fully support the vision that’s been articulated," he said.

When the Senate passes a multi-year transportation bill later this year, Villaraigosa wants it to include his financing vision.