On Thursday, a proposal to accelerate construction of a dozen transit projects and expedite highway improvement projects in Los Angeles County was approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) board of directors.
The 30/10 initiative, first proposed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, would seek federal assistance to build within the next decade a series of light rail, subway and rapid bus projects throughout Los Angeles County. The board also voted to explore federal funding or public-private partnerships to expedite local highway improvements.
The 30/10 initiative asks Congress and the Obama Administration to advance funding so the transit projects could get built much faster and generate hundreds of thousands of construction and other jobs to help jump start the economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ease traffic congestion. The funding package could include existing or new programs to provide low interest financing or loan guarantees.
In recent testimony before Congress, Mayor Villaraigosa cited other benefits of the 30/10 initiative for transit — an annual reduction of 568,000 pounds of mobile source pollution emissions, 10.3 million fewer gallons of gasoline used, 77 million more transit boardings and 208 million fewer vehicle miles traveled annually.
The 30/10 initiative is gaining traction in Washington. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer have spoken favorably of it. The Mayor, Chairman Najarian and other transportation agency Board members and Metro CEO Art Leahy have made repeated trips to the nation's capital to seek federal support for Metro's building program.