Boxer, LaHood, Coming to Metro to Discuss Transportation Funding Bill

As Transportation Reformers continue to wait for the Senate to join the House of
Representatives with a sense of urgency for re-authorizing the federal
transportation spending bill; Senator Barbara Boxer and Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood will hold a "Town Hall" type meeting at Metro
Headquarters from 9:30 A.M. to 3:45 P.M.  The draft agenda for the day,
available via the announcement on The Source, can be found here

2_10_10_boxer_lahood.jpgBoxer and LaHood get on the same page. Photo: Associated Press

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Boxer held a similar forum downtown back in September of 2008 where various officials from around Los Angeles, ranging from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and then-Metro CEO Roger Snoble testified about their priorities in a federal transportation funding and policy bill.  The basics of the hours and hours of testimony can be described in two terms: "new starts" and "ports."  There was no mention of words such as "bicycle," "pedestrian," or even "Smart Growth."

The key to whether this "Town Hall Forum" is a chance to have a discussion of what various transportation stakeholders need and desire in a transportation re-authorization bill will be up to Boxer, LaHood and Leahy.  Last time non-VIP’s had to wait through hours of presentations by elected officials and bureaucrats before any advocates or other people that don’t collect a government pay check.  If this is really a Town Hall hearing, then hopefully all of the stake holders, including commuters that don’t have a paid driver get to speak.

The Southern California Transit Advocate’s Dana Gabbard agrees,

I’m glad to see Senator Barbara Boxer and U.S. Transportation Secretary
Ray LaHood have announced they are reaching out to stakeholders seeking
input on the currently stalled federal transportation
funding reauthorization bill. Which is all well and good IF the
attendees reflect a wide range of stakeholders, not just usual
suspects. Heretofore our region hasn’t always done as well as it should
in that regard. If a more diverse group of people see the process as
being connected to their needs and concerns, maybe the chances would
improve of some progress occuring in passage of the bill sooner rather
than later. At least the preliminary agenda includes some good concepts
for discussion, including livability and safety.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see for another nine days.  Rest assured, this website will "go dark" next Friday, but we’ll be live tweeting from Metro’s Board Room.

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Senator Barbara Boxer is receiving bi-partisan praise for managing to move a transportation policy and funding bill through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in a divided Senate, but she may be facing trouble from a usually supportive constituency back home. Regardless of how one feels about the new funding formulas proposed in the bill, there […]