Villaraigosa Announces Coalition to Speed Up Measure R Transit Construction

ride_metro_with_the_mayor.jpgRide it all the way to Santa Monica in 2020?  Image:Ted Soqui/LA Weekly.

At a meeting of business leaders earlier today, Mayor Villaraigosa officially announced his plan, previewed earlier today in the Times, to aggressively pursue private and federal funds to complete all rail projects included in Measure R within ten years.  Villaraigosa has often talked about completing his favorite project, the Subway to the Sea.

Basically, Villaraigosa is hoping to build a county-wide coalition to begin finding new sources of revenue for rail projects.  Whether these funds come from public or private sources has yet to be determined. 

One part of the plan that is sure to be controversial is his plan is to front-load funding for transit projects over the next ten years.  By pushing transit first, the Mayor hopes to attract more federal and private investment.  Villaraigosa is hoping to avoid a fight amongst rail activists by moving all projects quickly at once.  Metro estimates he's going to need to find another $12 billion in funds, in addition to the $13 billion of Measure R funds that are available for rail projects, to meet his ambitious goal.  All of this is assuming he can convince the Metro Board to go along with his plan in the first place.

The full text of the advisory, helpfully provided by Neon Tommy, is also available after the jump.  If more details become available later today, this post will be updated.  (update: I just replaced the advisory with the release.  Not a lot of new news, but still a big thanks to Neon Tommy.)

MAYOR ANTONIO R. VILLARAIGOSA
City of Los Angeles

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2009

Contact:
Lisa Hansen
213-978-0658
-or-
Press Office
213-978-0741


MAYOR PLANS TO ACCELERATE PUBLIC TRANSIT PROJECTS

“30/10” Will Push to Accelerate Use of Measure R Transit Funding

LOS ANGELES – Promoting his vision for sustainability and an improved public transportation system, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today announced
that he is beginning to build a coalition to support the acceleration of the 30 years of transit projects included in Measure R into 10 years.  The “30/10” program would leverage the $13 billion approved by voters for 12 transit projects to expedite construction and bring jobs
and environmental benefits to LA sooner.

"Thirty years is too long to wait when we can build all twelve projects in the next decade,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “When we have workers
hungry for high quality jobs, companies that are ready to hire, the dirtiest air, and the worst traffic congestion in the nation, thirty years is just too long.”

In a speech at the Los Angeles Business Council’s Annual Mayoral Housing, Transportation, and Jobs Summit held today at UCLA, the Mayor
outlined his plan to build a coalition of transit advocates, environmentalists, business, labor, health advocates, and community
groups to support the “30/10” program.

The “30/10” Coalition would draw on the same groups that last year helped pass Measure R, the local half-cent sales tax, by 68% during a
recession.

"This is about transforming a region, increasing access to and efficiency of public transit and creating sustainable communities and a
thriving economy,” Mayor Villaraigosa added.

Preliminary projections of the sustainability benefits of “30/10” include:

●       1.8 times more carbon dioxide removed from the air
●       2.4 times more nitrous oxides removed from the air
●       2.2 times fewer miles driven
●       4.2 times more new rail boardings
●       The creation of over half a million jobs through 2020.

Because Measure R will provide approximately $13 billion for transit projects over the next 30 years, the MTA will have the ability to repay
funds with guaranteed local sales tax revenues. This unique local match capacity is expected to open opportunities for advancing the funding and
paying it back over time.

Once a strong coalition of support for “30/10” is built, they will reach out to Congress, the Obama Administration, and others to build
support and develop a financing plan for the acceleration of the projects.

Last week the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved its Long Range Transportation Plan for the next 30 years.  The
12 projects are estimated to cost $20 billion and include $6.8 billion in non-Measure R funding.

The Measure R transit projects Villaraigosa plans to accelerate include:

●       The Westside subway extension
●       The Regional Connector light rail connector in Downtown Los Angeles
●       The Crenshaw corridor transit project
●       The Foothill Extension of the Metro Gold Line
●       The Expo light rail line on the Westside Phase 2
●       The Green Line connection to LAX
●       The Green Line extension to the South Bay
●       A San Fernando Valley 405 Corridor Connection
●       The Orange Line Canoga Extension
●       West Santa Ana Branch Corridor
●       San Fernando Valley North-South Rapidways
●       Eastside Extension to El Monte or Whittier

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