Local members of Congress testify for America Fast Forward

Even as partisan battles rage over the current year’s federal budget and budgets for the years beyond, members of the House of Representative Transportation and Infrastructure Committee met Tuesday tot discuss how best to fund transportation in the future.

D.C. Streetsblog provided good coverage, noting that there was a lot of disagreement over the best way to go forward. Earmarks? Money only for projects that meet performance standards? Or maybe something else — such as Metro’s America’s Fast Forward plan to use federal financing and loans to speed the construction of local transit projects.

From Metro CEO Art Leahy’s daily email to staff:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-32) highlighted Metro’s America Fast Forward today in remarks she made before members of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee at a hearing focused on our nation’s next surface transportation authorization bill.  Congresswoman Chu remarks included the following assertion,  “Our [Los Angeles County] region is too congested and polluted to wait 30 years for a 21st century transportation system.  We can do this in just a decade by boosting TIFIA by reforming six provisions,” the Congresswoman added.  Positive remarks regarding using bonds for transportation projects and enhancing the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program were also made by two distinguished members of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-38) and Laura Richardson (D-37).  The hearing held today was convened by the subcommittee on Highways and Transit and was designed to solicit input from Members of Congress on how best to reform America’s surface transportation programs.

America Fast Forward is certainly getting some public attention. It was the focus of a House Committee meeting held in Westwood in February. And last week L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa held a news conference on the plan to highlight support for it from both the business and labor communities.