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Los Angeles Infrastructure Moves Forward While Federal Funding Remains Unpredictable 
By Niele Anderson, Contributing Writer 
Published August 17, 2017

Jacque DuPont Walker (Mayor Garcetti appointee to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority), Congressmember Ted Lieu, Phillip A. Washington Metro CEO (courtesy photo)

 Congressman Ted Lieu (CD-33) joined officials from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and Skanska USA Civil on Aug. 11, to tour the recently completed Exposition Light Rail Transit Phase 2 (Expo 2) project, which extended service from Culver City to Santa Monica.   

The project tour began at the La Cienega/Jefferson Metro station where Phillip A. Washington, Metro CEO, Jacque DuPont Walker (Mayor Garcetti appointee to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority), Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts and Brian Freund, vice president of Operations at Skanska USA Civil, gave presentations.  

Congressman Lieu commented on the need for continued investment in our nation’s rail transit systems. “It was a pleasure to see, firsthand the completed Expo 2 line, which connects many diverse neighborhoods in California’s 33rd District from Santa Monica to downtown L.A.,” said Congressman Lieu. “The project demonstrates the value of supporting transportation infrastructure investments.”  

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While locally, Angelinos voted to pass sales taxes last year to cover some of the infrastructure cost.  Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington provided and overview of how successful infrastructure must work. 

“I call it the three-legged financing and funding stool”, he stated. “The federal government is one leg of that stool – federal funding, the private sector is the second leg of that stool and then local investment is the third leg of that stool. All three of those legs have to work together to get infrastructure done, right now the federal leg of that stool is wobbly.”  

Washington continued, “We were a little discouraged by the proposed budget from this current administration on transportation, and concerned because the talk of one trillion dollars for infrastructure was not really reflected in that proposed budget. There were actually cuts in that budget and there was actually a call out of Los Angeles, Seattle, and Denver as being places that may not need federal dollars because we went out for sales tax initiatives. So, we are concerned but have not lost hope though and we still want to work with this administration on infrastructure investment but we were a little concerned with that proposed budget that came out a few months ago.” 

The group discussed the need to increase budget allocations for domestic discretionary investments and, more specifically, transportation infrastructure investments. They also emphasized the importance of the Capital Investment Grants Program and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant Program that support rail infrastructure investment as well as transportation, housing, and urban development goals. 

Phase 2 of the Metro Expo Line project is 6.6 miles long and connects Santa Monica by rail to downtown Los Angeles and the rest of the 105-mile Metro Rail system that extends to the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley, the South Bay, Long Beach and many points in between. Major construction began in 2012 and was completed in 2016.  

Also in attendance were: Rick Meade, Executive Officer of Program Management, Metro; Frank Alejandro, Senior Executive Officer, Metro; Jonathan Hofert, Senior Engineer, Metro; Marisa V. Yeager, Senior Manager of Federal Affairs, Metro; and Will Resch, VP of Grassroots Advocacy, NRC. Additional information provided by Metro. 

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Be sure to visit the Los Angeles Sentinel Facebook page to see an exclusive interview with Congressman Ted Lieu where he discusses Metro, Trump, Infrastructure, North Korea.

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