Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — who also serves on the Metro Board of Directors — is in Washington D.C. today for a news conference to promote the America Fast Forward plan.
As many Metro customers are aware, it takes time — often years and years of time — to build transit. The reason: it takes time to complete complex environmental studies and gather the heaps of money needed to actually build anything.
Regular readers here already know that Metro is trying to speed things up. America Fast Forward (AFF) seeks to use low-cost federal loans and bonds to build transit now — before construction costs rise — and then pay that money back using Measure R sales tax revenues. For this to happen, Metro needs changes to federal law, which explains why Villaraigosa is lobbying in Washington.
Metro has also produced a nifty four-page brochure on America Fast Forward. You can read the entire document here — the page above is from that brochure and shows how AFF could greatly expand the money available to build transit across the U.S.
The plan was first known as the 30/10 Initiative — the idea being to build 30 years of Measure R projects in 10 years. But the changes in federal law sought by Metro would also help other transit agencies that could use the federal financing, so the name of the plan has been changed to AFF for purposes of persuading Congress to act now, not later.
The mayor’s office has been tweeting throughout the day on AFF. We’ll try to post some photos and/or video from the event if it becomes available later. In the meantime, here’s the press release from the mayor’s office and here’s a letter he co-wrote to key members of Congress on AFF.