Mayor’s State of LA Not Just About Gangbangers

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There was precious little on transportation in Mayor Villaraigosa’s State of the City address yesterday, at least in what was reported in the local press. While the focus of the Mayor’s talk was the city’s strategy to fight gangs, there was an interesting paragraph on transportation.

CBS 2 had the longest quote:

Villaraigosa also called on federal and state leaders to prioritize funding for rail projects.

"It’s time to recognize that the only true long-term solution to gridlock is an efficient, convenient mass transit alternative. It is time to get serious about investing in rail again," Villaraigosa said.

"Everything is going to be on the table — including new local revenue options and private investment in the public good," he said. "This month, I’ll ask the MTA board to seek proposals to privately fund, build and operate an expanded transit system in Los Angeles."

Ok, so there’s a lot to cover for such a short section on transportation

First, the Mayor has renewed his call for better investment in L.A.’s rail system. Villaraigosa has certainly been an outspoken supporter of the Subway to the Sea, but sometimes the city and county lose sight of the goal of transit expansion and waste time, energy and money to increase automobile capacity. The call for new funding sources also seemed to be a tacit endorsement of Mike Feuer’s legislation, which was struggling in committee even as the Mayor spoke.

From there the Mayor calls for more private investment in building and operating "an expanded transit system in Los Angeles." Given the power of the bus and train operator’s union, it seems impossible that Metro is going to move towards a privately operated system.

Private funding of major MTA projects also seem unlikely. Transit projects aren’t exactly cash cows, as evidenced by recent fare hikes and the proposed service cuts.

In short, kudos to the Mayor for calling for more transit and better funding for transit. However, he missed a chance to make a greater impact in the public discussion about our transportation funding crisis, the debate on which has been somewhat lacking so far, by diluting his message by wasting time calling for privatized transit expansion.

One other question raised by the Mayor’s speech. Will the city’s increased focus on gangs mean that the city will have enough money to better protect the neighborhood around a certain Ballona Creek Trail entrance?

Photo: Daily News

  • JW

    Every opportunity he has to step up to the plate and make an improvement or make subtle little changes he failed miserably almost taking a Hahn like attack of hiding in a shell.

    Bond raiding, where was he? Where was this speech during that time? He was too busy zipping up his damn fly.

  • Mass transit expansion for greater Los Angeles – revisited

    With the escalating cost of energy – it is time to re-visit expanding the transit system.
    Put all politics aside and look at a short term goals and long term goals.

    Expanding the mass transit system in the Los Angeles Metro Area is critical to the future vitality of its economy; it will save energy reduce pollution, save lives and increase health by reducing stress.

    It is time to forgo ego and consider the good of the public.

    A transit system utilizing cable car or light rail over the freeways or any other types of mass transit in the Los Angeles Metro area is a reasonable solution to decrease the congestion on the roads, save energy, reduce pollution, improve air quality, save money, save lives and improve our health.
    Cost of energy and vehicles and maintenance has climbed dramatically in the past 10 years, warranting this issue to re-examine the expansion of mass transit in the Greater Los Angeles Area. The longer we wait, the greater the cost and the more imperative this project becomes.

    In many areas of the country there are transit stations and parking lots, which provide parking for the transit customers.

    The costs should not be astronomical. (Based on current energy costs, and future increases). There is no need to acquire large parcels of property; with some modification such system can be implemented and operational within the next decade.

    Jay Draiman, Northridge, CA

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