(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
Last month, Secretary LaHood came to Los Angeles as part of his Surface Transportation Reauthorization Outreach Tour. Together we held a town hall meeting in Los Angeles, where we heard from city, county and local officials and other interested parties from throughout California about issues that we should consider as we work on the next surface transportation authorization bill, which I’m calling MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century).
Today’s hearing focuses on one of the ideas that was raised at that town hall: finding ways the federal government can build upon and encourage transportation investments made at the state and local level across the country, and ways in which the benefits of those investments can be accelerated.
For example, in 2008 the citizens of Los Angeles County approved a half cent sales tax dedicated to transportation investments. This measure will generate an estimated $40 billion over the next 30 years.
Mayor Villaraigosa, who I am very pleased has joined us today, suggested to me that if the federal government could help Los Angeles complete a portion of the transportation improvements approved by the voters over 10 years, rather than 30 years, Angelenos could enjoy the benefit of their transportation investments sooner, and many more jobs could be created in the short-term.
I am a strong supporter of investments in transit as a crucial part of a transformational transportation policy for America. I want to thank Mayor Villaraigosa, for bringing the Los Angeles’ 30/10 initiative to my attention.
I support the 30/10 initiative and look forward to working with the Mayor, my colleagues here in the Senate, and the U.S. Department of Transportation to find ways to help not only Los Angeles, but also communities across this nation, use federal assistance to accelerate transportation benefits.
I want to thank Roy Kienitz, Under Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation for being here today, as well as all of the witnesses on our second panel.
Today’s witnesses will discuss the federal programs currently available to assist states and local governments with transportation investments, as well as examples of how some states are partnering with private investors to provide additional investment.
I look forward to hearing their suggestions as we develop MAP-21.