Given where Mayor Villaraigosa’s 30/10 plan stood in January – a compelling, but rough vision with little official support – it is a little bit amazing to see two powerful members of Congress vowing to rewrite transportation policy on the same day that US DOT hands over a $500 million loan.
While the boost to the Crenshaw project represents something of a milestone for 30/10, some serious heavy lifting remains. Under normal circumstances, there’s enough highway building inertia in transportation funding to kill off good public transit ideas. And on top of that, there’s a monumental mid-term election in two weeks that might result in allies like Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) losing his chairmanship of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee.
But indeed, there is something compelling about the self-help nature of the Measure R
sales tax that transcends ideology and geography.
, Los Angeles County is doing precisely what any smart small business would do: leveraging its dedicated funding source to guarantee loans that will allow the city to capitalize on labor and materials costs that are the lowest they’ve been in a decade. And in the same motion, 30/10 could put thousands of unemployed construction workers back on the job, not building tract homes on the urban fringe, but building crucial pieces of public transit infrastructure.