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Villaraigosa addresses U.S. Senate committee to gain support for local transportation projects

September 28, 2010 |  5:32 pm

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was in Washington on Tuesday in the latest lobbying foray on behalf of his signature 30/10 initiative, which would compress 30 years of projected L.A.-area transit projects into a decade.

Testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the mayor called on the federal government to create “a national program of innovative financing tools” to help pay for major transit projects in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

It was the mayor’s second trip in a week to the nation’s capital to tout his initiative. Villaraigosa wants to accelerate the construction of a dozen area transportation projects, including a portion of the so-called Subway to the Sea.

But a spokesman for the mayor said the expedited schedule would require some $8 billion in federal loans or bonds to supplement funds from a voter-approved half-cent sales tax. The money would eventually be paid back, said the mayor, who has been making the rounds with lawmakers and others to seek support.

Calling 30/10 a potential national model, Villaraigosa advocated bolstered funding from an existing federal loan program, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. He also called for the creation of a new category of bond to fund major transportation projects.

-- Patrick McDonnell at Los Angeles City Hall