Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 30/10 plan sounds simple: A county in dire need of economic stimulus uses $40 billion in guaranteed future tax revenue to secure federal financing for a dozen mass transit construction projects.
Riders win because the miles of new rail lines and rapid bus lanes open in 10 years rather than spreading construction over three decades; the county and the unions win because the plan creates 165,000 jobs when employment is most needed; the federal government and American taxpayers win since the county has a guaranteed revenue stream to pay back the debt; and Villaraigosa wins with a legacy project that jumpstarts traffic decongestion and improves air quality.
Of course, like any major civic effort, 30-10 is actually extremely complicated, and changing the local transit landscape requires going well beyond Los Angeles. In this case, bringing the vision to reality requires getting Congressional legislation passed in Washington, D.C.
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