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L.A. Area Chamber facilitates U.S. Chamber’s support of 30/10 and the fight for its approval on Capital Hill

February 20, 2011

Last week the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donahue announced his support for the proposed 30/10 transit  initiative at a Capitol Hill hearing (February 16, 2011).  According to Samuel Garrison,Vice President of Public Policy, The L.A. Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with Mayor Villaraigosa’s team and the U.S. Chamber to secure their support for this innovative infrastructure investment plan since November 2010.

The 30/10 Initiative will condense transit projects that were originally slated to go on for 30 years down to a 10 year plan.  While this initiative is extremely aggressive, it will create not only benefit for the local job market, but also provide major infrastructure value as the movement of goods and services will become much more efficient, making our two local ports (Los Angeles and Long Beach) very competitive.

Donahue attend the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer) hearing last week and stated that he was fully behind the Mayor vowing to help him get the word out and put the people behind it. National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka also endorsed the plan at the same hearing.  This national business-labor endorsement mirrors the local collaboration between the L.A. Chamber and L.A. County Federation of Labor — AFL/CIO.

The L.A. Chamber and local partners will also be continuing their advocacy throughout the spring to place 30/10 as a national infrastructure investment program which will include:

  • Senator Boxer and Chairman John Mica (U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee) will hold a field hearing in Los Angeles on transportation funding in this coming week/end of February.  The  L.A. Chamber will be present to testify about 30/10 and other key infrastructure priorities.
  • May 2-4, 2011 is the annual Los Angeles on the Hill – Access Washington, D.C. consensus trip.   The L.A. Chamber together with the City of Los Angeles, L.A. County Federation of Labor and Metro will be making a big push for 30/10 on Capitol Hill.
  • In addition to these meetings with lawmakers and Obama Administration leaders, the Chamber will host a luncheon with U.S. Chamber President Donahue.  More than 200 business, civic, labor and local elected officials are expected to take part in this year’s trip (interested parties can register on the L.A. Chamber website.

30/10 aims to build a dozen projects in 10 years instead of the originally scheduled 30 years which will include the Westside subway extension.  According to the Los Angeles Times (Feb. 16, 2011) one possibility under consideration is increasing funding for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or TIFIA, program. It is now funded at about $110 million, though President Obama in the budget he sent to Congress last week proposed a four-fold funding increase. This federal program is now being used to speed construction of the Crenshaw rail line from the Crenshaw district to a station near Los Angeles International Airport.

The Times also reported that Donahue called the program “one of the best deals around: Each dollar of federal funds can support up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and leverage $30 in transportation infrastructure investment.” One other idea — getting Washington to pay the interest on transportation bonds — is still considered an uphill battle in Congress.

Steve Hymon, writer for the Los Angeles Metro’s “The Source” further commented: “There have been some expressions of support from Republicans in Congress for this plan, but also some Republican reservations about any potential costs to the federal government.”

As with most contractors in Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, Terra-Petra supports 30/10 in that it will bring back the much-needed projects for generals and subs –which will definitely include methane mitigation design such as the proposed Westside subway extension.

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