Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa testifies to Senate Committee about America Fast Forward and next transportation spending bill

A screen capture of the Mayor testifying this morning.

If you would like to watch Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s testimony to the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee this morning, here’s a link. His testimony about the next federal transportation spending bill — already two years overdue — begins at the 53-minute mark.

Excerpt:

We also continue to grapple with growing congestion and its impact on mobility and jobs. Take it from a native Angeleno, traffic is a job-killer.
It’s pretty simple: When our infrastructure functions effectively, employers expand their businesses. When congestion and other constraints choke the movement of people and goods, companies pull up stakes and the jobs leave with them.

Los Angeles is no different from other major metropolitan areas. Our cities are the heart and lungs and skeleton and muscle of the nation’s economy. Our metro areas generate some 90% of our gross domestic product. Next year, they’ll account for 94% of new jobs.

The current extension of our surface transportation bill expires on September 30. The clock is ticking, and we are at a critical fork in the road. We can put people back to work and invest in the infrastructure our nation and cities desperately need, or we can lose ground against our competitors.

Here’s a link to Villaraigosa’s written and verbal testimony. There is also considerable testimony about America Fast Forward, the plan his office conceived (which Metro is pushing for) to advance the construction of 12 Measure R projects through federal loans and other financing. It needs to be included in the next transpo bill in order to actually happen.

The Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee is overseeing the Senate version of the bill; the House version of the bill is being overseen by the Transportation Committee. Outlines of both the Senate and House versions of the bills have been released — and both included parts of America Fast Forward.

But the House version also included serious cuts to transportation funding that have been criticized by many.

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