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Villaraigosa: Washington must end bickering, invest in America

September 6, 2011 |  1:02 pm

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on congressional leaders and the White House Tuesday to end partisan bickering and act swiftly to invest in the nation’s infrastructure, calling such spending necessary to rebuild the economy and boost employment.

“Across the country you can hear a bipartisan chorus -- including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and more than 120 mayors -- singing the same note and urging Congress to invest more -- not less -- to meet our pressing infrastructure needs,” Villaraigosa told a crowd of about 1,000 in the opening session of the Mobility 21 transportation summit in downtown L.A.

“We need to remind those members of Congress who are so beholden to the economics of cut, cap, slash and burn that stubborn allegiance to ideology is no virtue and that bipartisan cooperation in the pursuit of economic recovery is no vice,” the mayor said.

“And frankly we also need the direct engagement of the White House on this issue. I know that President Obama understands that the way to build wealth is by investing. But this week we need to hear him say it,” he said.

During a news conference after the speech, Villaraigosa said he had spoken with President  Obama over the phone last week and was invited to join First Lady Michelle Obama for Thursday’s joint session of Congress during which the President plans to unveil his new plan to create jobs.

Villaraigosa said he spokes with the president about the importance of investing in transportation infrastructure projects to help reduce unemployment.

“We need to see him fight for investment in transportation jobs in the coming weeks and months,” Villaraigosa said in the speech. “The Congress has dithered enough over deficits and debts. Now it’s time to secure the country’s future. It’s time to start building again.”


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-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa during State of the City address. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times