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Councilman urges bonds for green projects including L.A. River and CleanTech zone

July 14, 2009 |  5:30 am

Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson plans to ask his colleagues today to consider issuing a yet-to-be-calculated amount of bonds for a series of green projects. The work would include the early stages of the city’s $2-billion plan to revitalize the Los Angeles River, the retrofit of city buildings to make them more energy efficient and the acquisition of land to attract and house green manufacturing firms in the area east of downtown designated as the CleanTech Manufacturing Corridor.

Wesson’s staff said he also hopes that money from the potential bonds could be used to aid firms in building factories and purchasing equipment if they locate in the CleanTech Corridor.

The Community Redevelopment Agency has begun talks with an Italian rail firm, AnsaldoBreda, that has said it would build a rail car manufacturing plant in the CleanTech Corridor if it wins a $300-million contract from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Wesson plans to hold a news conference this morning to discuss his proposal, but most of the details are still vague.

Wesson’s aide said the councilman was open to issuing the bonds any time in the next three years, depending on the pace of economic recovery. Part of the proposal, which would have to be approved by the City Council, would ask that officials spend the next six months studying how much money the city should seek through the bonds.

The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, for example, would be asked to calculate how much would be needed to purchase desired land in the CleanTech Corridor; the Bureau of Engineering would look at how much money would be needed for river revitalization projects over the next 10 years -- with a focus on removing concrete along the river bed to return the waterway to its natural state.

-- Maeve Reston at L.A. City Hall