Welcome to L.A. Mr. President, Daily News Offers Mixed, Mostly Positive, Message on Transportation

By now, Air Force One is probably on its way to Los Angeles with President Obama, taking a tough line on transportation, onboard.  As the debate on how

The Mayor and the President share a laugh in 2006. Photo: Los Angeles Times

America should invest in transportation, and the President makes headlines for a ten year $476 billion plan and a threat to veto the “horse and buggy” legislation of the House Republicans, he hits Los Angeles to make some local headlines and raise some cash for re-election.

And the Daily News wasn’t going to miss it’s chance to make a statement.

In a mostly positive editorial on the President’s vision, the News’ editors lay out the stakes of the debate:

The debate on the proper role of government in transportation funding easily could break down along partisan lines. The Obama administration is touting its surface-transportation plan as part of the “blueprint for an America built to last” that the president outlined in his state of the union address; and advocates of nonautomobile transit accuse tightfisted Republicans of waging war on an inevitable future. Republicans are concerned about spending too much.

It’s more complicated than that. It’s about how much the nation and state should spend. But, just as important, also about how to spend it.

As I said, the article is a mixed bag.  It wouldn’t be the Daily News without a shot at High Speed Rail:

The Obama administration’s doubled-down support for the California bullet train should rile those who, rightfully, question the project. Public support for the plan to link Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area at speeds of up to 220 mph has fallen since last year’s new projections of a higher price tag (nearly $100 billion), longer construction schedule and lower ridership. But U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has been urging state leaders to push ahead.

However, the most interesting part of the editorial is the end.  Instead of framing the debate as the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party wants, a car versus rail debate, but a high speed rail versus local rail debate:

Should money be spent on the grand plan for a bullet train covering hundreds of miles sometime in the future, or on local transit solutions that will get drivers off the 405 Freeway sooner?

Honk if you look forward to that debate.

Honk.