Villaraigosa: Transportation Bill Might Speed Subway Plan

LA's mayor says funding from the bill might allow construction to begin earlier on a subway to Westwood

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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was in Washington D.C. Thursday to back a transportation bill that might help fund proposed subway, light rail and other LA transit projects. 

Map 21: Bill Outline | Map: Westside Subway Extension

The draft bill, called Map-21, includes $1 billion to provide federal guarantees and  flexible repayment options to local governments for transit projects.

The mayor said he's confident the region will receive a $646 million loan for a subway to Westwood. That would allow construction to begin earlier than anticipated. Work is currently scheduled to begin in 2016 or 2017, the  mayor said.

LA County already received more than $500 million in federal loans for  the Crenshaw-LAX Light Rail line.

The transportation bill is authored by Sen. Barbara Boxer. She said the $1 billion loan guarantee has support from Sen. James  Inhofe, R-Okla., and Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who is authoring a House version.  

The existing transportation funding bill is set to expire Sept. 30. Boxer's bill and the House version have long roads ahead -- both must be introduced in committees and voted on by the House and Senate. Then, differences in the bills would need to be worked  out by a conference committee with members from each house. 

Villaraigosa's testimony Thursday was before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

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