LOS ANGELES (CBS) — President Barack Obama’s proposed 2012-13 budget unveiled Monday includes more than $80 million for two high-profile Los Angeles transit projects — a subway extension to Westwood and an underground light
rail downtown.

Congressional Republicans have criticized Obama’s budget proposal and said they would introduce their own spending plan later this year.

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Obama’s budget includes $50 million to extend the Purple Line subway from its current terminus at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue to Westwood, and $31 million for the so-called Regional Connector Project that would connect the Gold Line to the Blue and Exposition lines via an underground light rail through downtown.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who chairs the Metro board, called it a vote of confidence for the projects.

“President Obama’s proposed budget makes it more likely than ever that shovels could soon break ground on these transit improvements that will greatly expand connectivity throughout the L.A. region,” Villaraigosa said.

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“The president has come through for Los Angeles County,” he said.

“Now it’s Congress’ turn: the House and Senate should pass the New Starts transit funding in the president’s budget so we can put people back to work.”

If the transportation funding survives the budget process and is approved by Congress later this year, the money could be combined with Los Angeles County’s voter-approved Measure R sales tax revenue and could jumpstart construction of both projects in 2013, Villaraigosa said.

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Environmental reviews of the two projects are under way.