I don’t read the L.A. Times or visit L.A. often, but I’m surprised (and pleased) to read this Times column on the Mayor’s re-election. It’s no secret that transit and L.A. aren’t often heard in the same sentence. I think the fact that the #1 recommendation this Times’ columnist is giving to the mayor has to do with transit says a lot about the growing strength of the transit cause across the U.S. Here’s the excerpt from the L.A. Times:
1. Show real leadership on mass transit. Thanks to voters in Los Angeles County and statewide, who approved tens of billions of dollars in funding for subways and high-speed rail last November, there is a huge pot of money set aside for transit projects just waiting to be divvied up. The mayor doesn’t control all of that cash directly, of course, but as the leader of the biggest city in the state and the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, he’ll have a stronger say than any other single politician in deciding how it’s spent. Early in his second term, he should dedicate a major speech to articulating his vision for allocating the new windfall of transit money — and for using it to leverage additional subway and high-speed rail funding and other transit-related stimulus money from Washington. His mayoral legacy and the record he’ll presumably run on for governor both depend on it. Driving progress on the high-speed rail plan alone, which by relying on Union Station as a terminus could revitalize a broad swath of downtown, could give his statewide chances a significant boost.