LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sen. Barbara Boxer and eight Congress members have held a hearing in Los Angeles to gather local ideas as they craft a long-term federal strategy for transportation programs.

Wednesday’s joint Senate and House hearing was one of several fact-gathering sessions the lawmakers are holding nationwide in advance of the next transportation bill.

Local officials, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, called on Congress to expand a federal loan program to accelerate the completion of big infrastructure projects. He has been promoting an effort to construct a dozen transit projects in 10 years rather than 30 by borrowing from the federal government first, then repaying later with proceeds from a voter-approved half-cent sales tax to improve local transportation.

Villaraigosa said more than 60 mayors around the country support his plan.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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