About 30/10…it appears Congress is listening

A few weeks ago, I told readers to feel free to contact their elected representatives to urge support for the 30/10 Initiative.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Intelligent Source readers — and I realize that phrase is redundant — know that the 30/10 plan proposes to build a dozen Measure R transit projects in the next 10 years instead of the next 30.

How? Using federal loans and financing and paying it back with Measure R sales tax revenue as that money flows into local coffers over time. The problem is 30/10 is something new and isn’t likely to get the overnight rubber stamp of Congress.

I also mentioned in the post that any readers who get replies from elected representatives about 30/10 should forward them to The Source and we’ll be happy to post. And one reader — Alex Boekelheide — did just that, sending us this lovely dispatch from California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who promptly responded to Alex’s letter about 30/10:

Dear Mr. Boekelheide:

I received your letter expressing your support for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 30/10 Plan for transportation infrastructure improvements. I appreciate the time you took to write and welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you may know, Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R in November 2008, providing a one-half cent sales tax to support infrastructure investment throughout the County over a span of thirty years. Mayor Villaraigosa has proposed to use the tax revenue generated by Measure R to obtain a Federal loan and complete twelve infrastructure projects within ten years rather than thirty.

I believe that the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) should apply for this loan from existing Federal transit innovative financing programs that are designed to accelerate construction projects now while using funds generated by Measure R sales tax to repay the Federal investment.

Bold national infrastructure expansion programs are needed to modernize our roadways and public transit networks, and the Mayor’s 30/10 Plan could be a model for how to build up communities across the country. This is particularly critical for the greater Los Angeles region, which is among the most congested and heavily populated metropolitan regions in the country.

Once again, thank you for writing. If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator

As an aside, I should also mention that Alex also wrote two other members of Congress from California and received no response at all. Hmm.