Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa visited Washington, D.C. yesterday to garner support for a national expansion of his 30/10 transportation initiative, called America Fast Forward.
In November 2008, two-thirds of Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R, an initiative committing a half-cent sales tax increase, which adds up to an average of $25 per person annually, to fund traffic relief and transportation upgrades by paying off bonds. Measure R was presented as an opportunity to generate $40 billion to fund critical transit and highway projects, such as bikeways, pedestrian improvements, local transit services and subsidies for county-wide bus operations. However, funding generated through Measure R is not sufficient on its own, and without other funding, the 12 transit projects would take 30 years to complete. In response to this, Villaraigosa proposed the 30/10 transportation initiative, asking for federal funding to “accomplish 30 years’ worth of transit projects in just 10 years.”
The completion of the 12 transit projects is meant to do more than increase transit ridership and reduce gasoline usage, thereby easing traffic congestion and greenhouse emissions; it is meant to create jobs and improve the local economy by linking people and cities.
America Fast Forward is an extension of this initiative, as the Mayor explains in a radio program. He says the plan’s federal loan program will incentivize cities like Los Angeles to invest in transportation infrastructure and move the U.S. towards energy independence. In accordance with the 30/10 initiative, America Fast Forward will also create new jobs, especially in the small business sector, all while minimizing the impacts of high capacity transit projects on the federal budget.
To read more of our initial coverage of the story, click here.