The hearing held by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman John Mica (R-FL) in Los Angeles Wednesday was a historic, bipartisan, bicameral event attended by members of the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The “30-10” plan dominated the discussion and at the end LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa formally kicked off the “America Fast Forward” campaign to build support for a national version of 30-10 in the federal reauthorization.
Boxer also said during the course of the hearing that the 30-10 model would become the centerpiece of the federal transportation reauthorization bill, which was the subject of the hearing. Action on the bill has stalled for two years because Congress has not been able to come up with a politically palatable way to finance it. At the hearing yesterday there seemed to be unanimous agreement that innovative financing, like 30-10, that mobilizes local voters and local money and that includes bonds backed by private investment as well as other kinds of public-private partnerships were essential.
A low-interest loan and/or loan guarantees from the TIFIA, or Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, has been a key part of the proposal to fund 30-10 in Los Angeles. Though the TIFIA program is underfunded and oversubscribed it became clear that the committee is seriously thinking about revamping TIFIA to make it possible for the federal government to invest in big infrastructure programs like 30-10.
When LA County Supervisor Don Knabe asked whether the committee might fund the program at a level that would allow Los Angeles to receive $500 million, Senator Boxer replied that she and the committee were thinking about significantly more money.
The committee hearing was a very big win for the Move LA agenda!