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Villaraigosa Back Trolling For Transportation Cash In DC

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(credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS) — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was back on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on Wednesday in order to pitch a plan to accelerate funds for transportation projects.

Villaraigosa tells KNX 1070 that Los Angeles is leading the way when it comes to creative financing for infrastructure projects.


“Our 30/10 plan to accelerate transportation funding from 30 years to 10 is now going national,” said Villaraigosa, adding that over 100 mayors across the U.S. have signed on to the America Fast Forward, a national plan that leverages local money in order to obtain more federal funding for transportation faster.

The trip is Villaraigosa’s second to Washington this month and his sixth since September.

Villaraigosa is pushing to lock in lower interest rates sooner in order to make large scale projects cheaper in the long term.

Fast Forward is also seeking increased annual funding for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and an increase in the maximum percentage of the funding allotment that the act can finance.

While the majority of congressional Republicans are desperate to cut spending, Villaraigosa says he’s got support from the GOP chairman of the transportation committee.

Supporters say the plan’s creative financing would dramatically reduce the federal government’s traditional funding burden for transportation projects from about 80 down to 20 percent.

Villaraigosa’s trip is in part to announce expanded support for America Fast Forward, including U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue, AFL- CIO president Richard Trumka and Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure.

“As mayors of major economic hubs throughout the country, we have put together the construction projects and the dollars to pay for them — over time,” Villaraigosa said. “But time is of the essence now, when early construction of these projects can be done at much lower cost and result in the immediate infusion of higher paying jobs.”

While in Washington, Villaraigosa also attended President Barack Obama’s speech on energy security at Georgetown University.

America Fast Forward is an national extension of Villaraigosa’s 30/10 initiative. That plan calls for using $40 billion in projected revenue for transportation projects Los Angeles County voters approved in 2008 as collateral for an advance on federal funding now. The so-called Measure R money from the half-cent sales tax would pay back the federal loan as revenue is generated through 2038.

America Fast Forward claims its financing plan would create one million jobs and $158 billion economic output.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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