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Mayor Villaraigosa goes to Washington for Westside subway money

February 3, 2009 | 12:50 pm

Antonio_2 Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will hop aboard a red-eye flight to Washington tonight to lobby the Obama administration and congressional leaders on the proposed $885-billion economic stimulus package that’s now before the Senate.

Villaraigosa wants to ensure Los Angeles remains high on the list for funding for major transportation, green-energy projects and big-ticket items such as the “Subway to Sea" as well as the mayor’s ambitious solar initiative. He also wants federal money to go directly to cities.

The mayor’s spokesman, Matt Szabo, said sending the money to local governments would provide “more bang for the buck."

It also would keep the money away from the hands of the California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who are locked in a battle over how to address the state’s mammoth budget gap, which is estimated at $42 billion through the 2010 fiscal year. The mayor is scheduled to leave tonight and be back in the city Thursday morning.

-- Phil Willon