Washington Post Columnist: Measure R a National Guide to Economic Recovery

3_10_10_zane.jpgCutting edge? Zane rallies the troops for "30 in 10."

In a sure sign that the "30 in 10" plan to accelerate all Measure R transit projects to be completed within a decade, national media is picking up the story and praising Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for providing a new model of federal stimulus for America.

In Today’s Washington Post, columnist Harold Meyerson praises Angelenos, Villaraigosa, and all of the special interests that decided that taxing themselves in the name of infrasructure by helping to pass Measure R at the ballot box in 2008.  From there, he goes on to explain how the "30 in 10" plan isn’t just a good idea, but a groundbreaking one:

Now, Los Angeles is asking Washington for loans — not grants, mind you
— to be repaid with that sales tax revenue, to accelerate said
construction so that it can be done in one decade rather than three. In
other words, to help finance a major environmental and stimulus program
that won’t add to the federal deficit. It’s an idea so novel that
Washington’s initial reaction was befuddlement…

…If the work could be accomplished in 10 years, as the mayor now
proposes, it would engender more than 150,000 construction jobs smack
in the part of the country that is home to more unemployed construction
workers than any other. It would also save nearly $4 billion by
avoiding the presumably higher costs of labor and materials in, say,
2030.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?  However, like all political stories, there’s a villain.  This time, the villain is a government bureaucracy that isn’t conditioned to work with ideas that are too forward thinking in how money is going to be raised and spent.

The feds, however, are accustomed to spending, not lending, their
money. When Los Angeles initially sought not an appropriation but a
loan, nobody in Washington knew how to respond. "They laughed," says
Villaraigosa. "They said they didn’t have a program that could do
this."

The rest of the piece is basically a breakdown of what the federal government would have to do to make "30 in 10" a reality.  Given that both U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood have gone on the record in support of the plan, it doesn’t seem like such a heavy lift for the government to make slight alterations in some USDOT programs or change the way "Build America" bonds are handed out.

  • Thanks for sharing! Hadn’t seen it. Just retweeted.

  • David Galvan

    Wonderful! With national media attention, this should now become a political football that the transportation administration can use for its own p.r. purposes, which makes it more likely that 30-in-10 will actually happen!

    Yet another chance to say:

    “Thank goodness Measure R passed!”

  • David Galvan

    BTW, is that a flying pigeon in the photo?

  • CALPIRG set up an alert targeting Senator Boxer to help Los Angeles make this happen! As Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, she’s got a lot of power to help LA get the loans it needs. Take action here: http://www.calpirg.org/action/transit/build-la-transit-now

  • That is Efrain Moreno’s Azor Secret Service (from bakfiets.nl). I sell bikes like that from Gazelle, Batavus, and Pashley (as well as our own Flying Pigeons). Efrain’s bike is a beautiful example of what a high art transportation bicycle building is in Holland.

    Putting his bike in front of the podium was a brilliant idea, as it is also a great example of the type of cycling most of us are fighting for – everyday, on-street, trips.

  • David Galvan

    Thanks for the link, Emily. E-mail sent! I’m going to encourage my friends in the L.A. area to sign this. It is now a no-brainer for everyone in L.A. to do it: Measure R passed, so we are all paying for this system no matter what. The only difference to us will be if it is built in 10 years or 30.

  • Ah! This is awesome! Thanks for countering a few
    misconceptions I had read about this as of late.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

30/10 Survives the Metro Board of Directors

|
The Measure R map. For a full sized version, check out The Transport Politic Today, the Metro Board of Directors voted to endorse the 30/10 proposal, but for a long-time it didn’t look good.  All of the signs were there for a disaster…a highway sellout of "30/10," the proposal to use federal loans to front-load […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Villaraigosa Steps Up Case for “30 in 10” in D.C.

|
Days after pitching the Senate environment committee for federal help with expediting his ambitious "30/10" package of new transit projects, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was back on the Hill yesterday meeting with lawmakers as part of a broad campaign for more investment in California infrastructure. Villaraigosa, at left, flanked by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). […]