fresh voices from the front lines of change







Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been pushing what he calls the 30/10 Initiative. The idea is simple: take all of local transportation projects around the country that are planned for the next 30 years and get them done in the next 10 years instead. This would create a tremendous number of jobs, and once completed would boost the economy, thereby paying for itself.

Villaraigosa has asking mayors around the country to join in asking Congress to help states, counties and cities finance these projects, as well as help pay the interest on transportation bonds. But these governments also contribute their own funding.

"There's nothing more important than this issue of transportation," Villaraigosa, said to the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in January.

Specifically the proposal calls for expanding the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act ("TIFIA") in the surface transportation reauthorization bill. TIFIA provides federal loans and loan guarantees to help finance state and local transportation projects.

In Los Angeles alone the 30/10 initiative would mean:

  • 160,000 new jobs
  • 77 million more transit boardings
  • 521,000 fewer pounds of mobile source pollution emissions
  • 10.3 million fewer gallons of gasoline used
  • 191 million fewer vehicle miles traveled

That is just in L.A.! The specific projects in L.A. that are waiting to be accelerated are:

  • Orange Line Extension
  • Exposition Transit Corridor Phase 2
  • Gold Line Foothill Extension
  • East San Fernando Valley North-South Transit Corridors
  • Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor
  • Regional Connector Transit Corridor
  • Westside Subway Extension (to be opened in segments)
  • West Santa Ana Transit Corridor
  • Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2
  • Green Line LAX Extension
  • South Bay Metro Green Line Extension
  • Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor

As I said, this is just in L.A. -- and there are projects like this waiting all around the country. Aside from the immediate jobs boost, the payoff to our economy is enormous.

The TransportPolitic blog has more on LA transportation issues.

So Many Job Opportunities

The jobs problem is not that there isn't work waiting to be done. The jobs problem is the political gridlock in the Congress. There are so many job opportunities being blocked by Congressional inaction:

  • The 30/10 initiative is about modernizing municipal transportation.
  • But there is also our problem of crumbling infrastructure -- millions of jobs that need doing! And the payoff from modernizing our infrastructure is enormous.
  • What about the Cash For Caulkers "Homestar" idea?
  • Put people to work retrofitting homes and buildings to be energy efficient. Again, jobs now and a huge payoff to the economy later.
  • People can be put to work doing things that make life better for all of us: fixing up our parks, cleaning up our cities, helping teachers and thousands of other things.
  • And there are so many more ways we could be putting people to work that would have a huge payoff for all of us.

March 10 Summit on Jobs and America's Future

On March 10, 2011, the Summit on Jobs and America’s Future will bring together leaders and activists who understand that America faces a jobs crisis – and who are committed to building a political movement for sustainable economic growth, dynamic job creation, and a revival of the American economy.

Free. $15 with lunch. Register here.

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