Villaraigosa Meets With Obama To Discuss 30/10 Transportation Plan
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa met with President Obama at the White House on Monday to discuss spending on infrastructure.
Villaraigosa has been in Washington to gather federal support for his 30/10 initiative, which would accelerate completion of transit projects in Los Angeles. The Subway to the Sea, for example, would be completed in 10 years instead of 30, the initial estimate.
The White House says President Obama hosted the meeting with Villaraigosa and other city and transportation leaders to “discuss the current state of our transportation infrastructure in cities and states across the country, the challenges they face to improving their infrastructure, and the short- and long-term economic impact of new infrastructure investment."
The President has made improving infrastructure a priority. In Rose Garden remarks following the meeting, President Obama called for a “fundamental overhaul” of infrastructure. Calling our current system “woefully insufficient and outdated,” Obama said the plan should have broad bi-partisan support and the costs of the projects “will be fully paid for.”
The estimated cost of L.A.'s transportation projects over 30 years is $18.5 billion. Villaraigosa says the accelerated plan will cut the cost to $14 billion.
Additionally, Los Angeles County voters agreed in 2008 to pay for the transportation projects with a half-cent sales tax increase. Villaraigosa would like the federal government to finance the project now and be paid back over time by revenues from the tax.
In addition to Villaraigosa, Obama invited Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, and the Mayors of Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Charleston, S.C. and Columbus, Ohio. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and two of his predecessors, Norman Mineta and Samuel Skinner also attended the meeting.