Last Wednesday when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa delivered his state of the city address he largely avoided the main topic facing the city: the budget. That came on Friday in the unveiling of his budget, which included a proposal with significant layoffs.
The mayor's speech focused on transportation, and what may be his key
achievement, the passage of Measure R. That measure, passed in 2008,
includes a temporary half-cent sales tax slated to expire in 2039. It
pays for transportation infrastructure throughout Los Angeles County.
The tax, for instance, pays the construction and expansion of the
region's rail system and maintenance of the highways. All of that work
creates over 400,000 new jobs.
Now the mayor is pushing to eliminate the sunset provision of Measure R. That would make the tax increase permanent.
Beyond Measure R, the mayor also focused on America Fast Forward, a
bill that would create a loan program from the federal government to
local entities and agencies constructing roads and rails. The plan is in
the transportation bills awaiting passage in the House and the Senate.
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