Garcetti Seeks Federal Funds for Transit and L.A. River

By City News Service

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti talked about revitalizing the Los Angeles River and creating a series of parks along the largely concrete-lined waterway Tuesday at Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard’s “LA River Day” event in Washington, D.C.

The event brought Members of Congress, representatives from several federal agencies and California state and local officials together “on Capitol Hill to discuss the LA River Revitalization Project and the necessary next steps to make this project a reality,” according to a statement from Roybal-Allard’s office.

“Investing in the restoration of the LA River’s infrastructure will finally breathe new life into the river and make it a great natural and cultural heritage resource,” said Roybal-Allard. “With public access that will reconnect communities that were previously divided by the river, we will see a reunification of Angelenos and the creation of an economic engine that, through tourism and recreational activities, will bolster the local and national economy,” she added.

He also met with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy “to discuss a number of California issues,” Garcetti spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.

Garcetti and the City Council in August officially backed the $1 billion Alternative 20, the most expensive and comprehensive of four Los Angeles River revitalization options being considered by Congress.

“We’re at a key moment in our efforts to restore the L.A. River and I am making it clear to Washington that L.A. deserves Alternative 20, the most robust option and the only one that equitably shares costs,” Garcetti said.

The Army Corps of Engineers recently unveiled four restoration options — ranging in cost from $375 million to more than $1 billion — designed to return sections of the river, from Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles, to its natural state.

Each of the plans involve re-introducing layers of natural habitat over existing concrete. Sites that may be affected by the plans include Taylor Yard and the Verdugo Wash.

Army Corps engineers have tentatively recommended the second most conservative option, Alternative 13, which costs about $453 million and would restore about 588 acres of wildlife and aquatic habitat.

The public has until Nov. 18 to comment on an environmental impact study of the four options.

On Monday, Garcetti met with President Barack Obama, who welcomed the new mayor to Washington, and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to seek federal funding for mass transit.

He also met that day with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and a series of officials from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Management & Budget and the Department of Interior to pitch Alternative 20.

Garcetti was greeted personally by Obama on “his first trip” to the nation’s capital as mayor, mayoral spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.

Curry did not provide details of the meeting, only saying that the pair had a “good discussion.”

Garcetti met Foxx Monday evening, according to Curry. Garcetti said last week he would ask Foxx for federal funding to help build a people mover at Los Angeles International Airport and expand the city’s commuter rail network, including bringing “mass transit into the airport.”

Curry said she was unable to elaborate on what was discussed in their talk, saying only that it was a “good” meeting.

A planned Crenshaw Line connecting the Expo and Green rail lines will run near the airport, but will not stop there. The existing Green Line stops 2.5 miles from the airport.

The mayor’s trip to D.C. also included a meeting with White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett to talk about a Los Angeles River revitalization project and other issues, Curry said. City Councilmen Bob Blumenfield, Gil Cedillo and Mitch O’Farrell, who were also in Washington to support Los Angeles River issues, participated in that meeting.

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October 31, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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