- Reporters Desk
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 14, District 15 Councilman Joe Buscaino discussed his recent travel to Washington, D.C. in his e-newsletter.
Buscaino traveled with seven colleagues for the annual National League of Cities conference and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s Access DC program.
Their presence in D.C. is critical because Californians get back only 76 cents of services for every dollar of federal taxes paid, Buscaino wrote.
He said that he advocated three things:
1) Councilman Mitchell Englander and his “Save Our Streets” initiative, a multi-billion dollar project to fix Los Angeles’s failed streets and sidewalks, while creating 40,000 jobs.
2) The revitalization of the Jordan Downs Housing development in Watts, which could potentially receive a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Initiative planning grant. That, will be leverage into a billion dollar investment.
3) The Port of Los Angeles, one of the most important economic engines of the region.
He met with eight members of Congress, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez, a potential investor in the LA Waterfront with major international brand recognition, the National League of Cities and many individuals and organizations, like a team studying the Vehicle Miles Traveled tax.
Deputy Transportation Secretary Mendez urged us to apply for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant to fund complete and green streets.
Buscaino spoke with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx about the importance of the reauthorization bill for transportation to include dedicated freight funding that will support cargo movements from the POLA to the rest of the country.
Rep. Maxine Waters expressed full support for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant being awarded to the Jordan Downs housing development and understands the importance of it, as Watts did not qualify for President Barack Obama’s Promise Zones Initiative. To qualify, an applicant needs to have received certain previous grants. Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is the Promise Zone qualifier for Watts. If the Department of Housing and Urban Development awards the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant to Jordan Downs, Watts automatically qualifies for the next Promise Zone. The housing development would also get $30 million for which he rest of the ingredients to leverage into a $1 billion investment into Watts already exists.
Rep. Adam Schiff and the chief of staff for Rep. Lucille Roybal-Alard liked the “Save Our Streets” initiative, which I have authored with my colleague Mitch Englander. Schiff said he hopes everyone else sees the benefits of supporting this ambitious but critically necessary infrastructure improvement project.
Former LA City Council members Reps. Janice Hahn and Tony Cardenas also gave positive support for Save Our Streets LA. Hahn said that if our cities agree to fund infrastructure projects, the federal government must be supportive from their end.