Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is in Washington D.C. today to push the 30/10 Initiative, which is getting a new name for its national push: America Fast Forward. L.A. Times columnist Tim Rutten uses the occasion to praise the plan to use federal financing to accelerate the construction of Measure R transit projects.
From the start, 30/10 won the support of the Obama administration and most of the key congressional Democrats involved in making transportation policy, particularly Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif). The midterm elections, however, not only brought the Republicans to power in the House but also changed the conceptual landscape when it comes to federal spending initiatives: Anything resembling an earmark is beyond the pale; any new spending is suspect.
Like most of the country’s mayors, Villaraigosa is keenly aware of local government’s simultaneous need to create jobs and invest in future growth. He has used that shared sentiment — along with President Obama’s observation that 30/10 provides a national template — to build a bipartisan coalition behind America Fast Forward. In an era when bipartisanship is notoriously elusive, this proposal already has been endorsed by both Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.
We’ll have more on Villaraigosa’s day in D.C. later.
In addition, CNBC business reporter Erin Burnett sat down with Russell Goldsmith, CEO of Los Angeles-based City National Bank and chair of the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs. The latter organization was formed by leaders of business, labor, academia and non-profits; it has been a strong voice of support of the 30/10 Initiative and America Fast Forward.
The portion discussing America Fast Forward begins at about the 3:20 mark of the video.