For decades, “more transportation” in our region has been synonymous with “more roads.” But more and more Angelenos are rejecting the old ways of doing things and demanding a more balanced transportation policy and a greener city. By investing wisely in public transit, pedestrian and bike paths, urban parks, as well as roads, we can create a more livable and environmentally friendly city for future generations.
My commitment to the public transit system stretches back more than 15 years. While I was serving in the state legislature, residents in the San Gabriel Valley grew frustrated over the stalled light rail project to connect Pasadena and cities to its east with downtown Los Angeles. To overcome cost overruns and delays, I penned legislation that created a new construction authority to design and build what is known today as the Gold Line.
Even as the Gold Line continues to extend east, our work is far from finished. Los Angeles voters have agreed to increase sales tax for the next 30 years to pay for new transportation projects. These are projects that can create thousands of constructions jobs and help grow the Los Angeles economy.
Projects like the Metro Regional Connector, which will allow passengers to travel from Pasadena to Long Beach with one boarding, and the Westside Subway Extension, which will connect Westwood by rail, are exactly what we need.
In addition to investing in public transit, we must commit new resources to build paths for pedestrians and bikers. One such project, the Los Angeles River Revitalization, will transform the concrete channel into a network of parks and trails for both pedestrians and cyclists and restore an eyesore into a functioning ecosystem and a much-needed urban oasis. I’m glad to say that the Los Angeles River Revitalization is moving forward thanks to support from leaders across the city, state, and federal government.
Another exciting project that is taking shape-a proposal to create a new “Hollywood Central Park” and will quite literally change Los Angeles’ landscape. Hollywood Central Park will reconnect neighborhoods bisected by the Hollywood Freeway by moving the 101 Freeway underground and replacing it with a 44-acre urban park, complete with bike and pedestrian pathways, revitalizing an underserved neighborhood.
Not only do projects like these transform and beautify our communities, they will also create much-needed jobs.
Back in the 1950s, the federal government invested in a national highway system. Now it is time for a modern, green, and multimodal transportation policy. As Congress debates the future of our transportation and infrastructure policy, I’ll be pushing for exciting, forward looking projects like ones we’re building here in Los Angeles.