LA Metro in concert with the city of Los Angeles and the group Move LA
solicited other municipalities that want to build train lines in shorter time frames. Together they formed a proposal called America Fast Forward
. So far, 120 mayors, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor group AFL-CIO have backed the plan.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) in March lobbied lawmakers on America Fast Forward while he was in Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The rail plan calls for a major increase in funding from the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, which provides loans, loan guarantees and lines of credit. LA Metro also is advancing another funding mechanism that would have the government pay as much as 100 percent of the interest on certain bonds issued by cities.
LA Metro compared its chances for success to when -- in November 2008 -- it asked voters to increase their sales tax by a half-cent to pay for rail, a bid that came on top of two earlier half-cent increases. The proposition passed by 67 percent, clearing the two-thirds margin needed for success.
"The odds were long then and we succeeded," said Raffi Haig Hamparian, government relations director at Los Angeles County Metro. "We expect to face long odds now in a tough fiscal environment in Washington. At the same time we expect to succeed."