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Villaraigosa Praises Transportation Bill Expected to Accelerate L.A. Projects

The bill could speed up several major transportation projects in L.A. County including the Westside Subway Extension.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa celebrated the that could expedite several major transportation projects and create many jobs in Los Angeles County in a press conference with Sen. Barbara Boxer near the 405 Freeway on Thursday.

“Today we celebrate this commonsense investment in America’s future,” Villaraigosa said in a statement. “The Surface Transportation Bill will put 3 million Americans back to work building our country’s transportation backbone.”

The bill includes funding for the program known as America Fast Forward, which could expedite the Sepulveda Pass Corridor project, the Westside Subway Extension—the expansion of the Purple Line from downtown to Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and the Veterans Administration campus.

The bill also increases funding for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program from $122 million per year to $750 million in 2013, and to $1 billion in 2014. TIFIA gives cities loans for transportation projects with low interest rates and flexible terms. The bill also includes $3.8 billion in so-called New Starts competitive grants that could be applied to Metro projects.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's director of Federal Relations, Raffi Hamparian, said last week the agency would "move with dispatch" to apply for up to $2 billion in loans to accelerate Metro transit and highway projects. Those projects include the Westside Subway Extension, the Crenshaw Line and the transit project through the Sepulveda Pass.

Boxer, chair of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, co-authored the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. The U.S. House approved the compromise plan by a 373-52 vote. The Senate voted 74-19 in favor of the bill, which also extended the federal gasoline tax through September 2014.

Villaraigosa has spent months lobbying for this bill, and he will travel to Washington, D.C., Friday to watch President Barack Obama sign it into law.

This article was compiled with information from City News Service.

Sean McCarthy July 06, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Watch out what you wish for. We are going to be asked to approve a multi-year extension of the sales tax under Prop R to provide matching funds for the federal transportation grants. How much more are you willing to pay to put someone other than yourself on a bus?
AJ Willmer July 06, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Sean, its exactly someone else we want on the bus. Lets be selfish about this. If I want to get in my car, drive, and then park, I very much want the other folk to have taken the bus and left me space for my car.
killerweed July 06, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Well, now THERE is an enlightened attitude! I wonder what the heck previous generations were thinking when they paid for roads and bridges and airports and trains and then made the obviously shortsighted mistake of leaving them behind for Sean McCarthy to use! Maybe they should have torn them up when they died so that Mr. McCarthy would have to pay for his own and could thus feel like the self-made man he apparently thinks he should be! (How pre-early 19th century of him!) Besides, the extension of the transportation tax doesn't increase OUR taxes, it just extends one we already imposed on ourselves, guaranteeing that future generations will also be paying for facilities WE will be able to use. So maybe Sean's got it bass-ackward. It's the future generations who should be griping because they'll be paying for our convenience, even though they'll have better transit too when all is said and done. As for Mayor Antonio going to Washington to watch the president sign the bill, I know he worked hard to make it happen, but if he'd just stay in L.A., do some more work for the city, and watch it on TV he'd be able to drop by the Baja Cantina for a margarita after work without having to mess with airport security! We'd probably all be better off.
Tom July 06, 2012 at 02:56 PM
The arguments have failed. California is finished. The two planes have hit it, now we just wait for the inevitable collapse. The Democrats have had it all there way, and Californians are the ones who've put them in power. Enjoy.
Sean July 06, 2012 at 06:43 PM
We will and do enjoy it every day. Hope you are happy wherever you are too!
steve July 06, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Thank you Stockton, roll on Los Angele's - Chapter 11, it never sounded so good, can't wait - keep spending guys, Antonio, keep working 1 hour per day max for our great City, a typical government worker.
Greg Fry July 08, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Why does it bother so many people when we spend our tax money on projects that actually benefit us, yet have no qualms about spending trillions of those same $$ on useless wars and corporate giveaways--including subsidizing the sending of our jobs overseas? With that attitude, or freeways never would have gotten built nor any other infrastructure project that exists today. If you want to live in the stone age with no government investment, move to Somalia and leave our city to those who actually want to do something about our woeful and collapsing infrastructure--thanks!

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