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Mayor back in nation’s capital

first_imgFor the most part, though, Villaraigosa stuck to the needs of Los Angeles, stumping for the region’s “fair share” of federal funding. “We think it is important that Los Angeles, as a national asset, be a place for investment on the national level,” he said. “As Los Angeles goes, so goes the nation.” Tuesday’s itinerary included sit-downs with Dreier, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Rep. Jane Harman, D-El Segundo, and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. King, who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, agreed to visit Los Angeles to see the region’s command centers, city officials said. Villaraigosa’s trip is the second to Washington this month. In town earlier this month to speak to the American Jewish Committee, the mayor backed Sen. Ted Kennedy’s immigration plan now before the U.S. Senate. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, said she believes Villaraigosa is helping Los Angeles financially by becoming a familiar face on Capitol Hill. “Congress stubbornly sticks to the East Coast mentality that the U.S. ends at the Mississippi,” she complained. With a looming $8.3 trillion national debt, she said the personal touch is becoming ever more important. “Competition for federal dollars has never been so fierce.” Villaraigosa said he plans to become a regular Washington visitor. “I have been here a few times lately. That red-eye (flight) is starting to wear on me,” he joked, adding, “This won’t be my last time.” [email protected] (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa continued to rack up frequent flier miles Tuesday, returning to the nation’s capital in search of federal dollars. Joined by dozens of members of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Villaraigosa called on Congress to invest more heavily in Southern California infrastructure, particularly the Alameda Corridor East rail network aimed at relieving San Gabriel Valley truck congestion. Last year, Southern California lawmakers brought home less than a quarter of the $900 million that local officials sought for the rail project. But Villaraigosa and local business leaders said they believe the $37 billion infrastructure bond package on California’s November ballot will induce Congress to be more generous this year. “We have something today we didn’t have a year ago,” David Fleming, the chamber’s incoming chairman, said of the bond measure. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsVillaraigosa noted that if the bond passes, Los Angeles would get about $1 billion in public transportation dollars. Moreover, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made cargo-transportation projects, such as the Alameda Corridor East, a top priority. “One thing that Congress has always liked is when local people put up their own money,” Villaraigosa said. “That breeds money.” On immigration, Villaraigosa declined to offer his opinion of President George W. Bush’s proposal to temporarily deploy National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexico border. But he did swat the House and Senate for a resolution backed by Reps. David Dreier, R-Glendora, and Gary Miller, R-Brea, insisting that the national anthem be sung in English – a backlash against a proposal to translate the anthem into Spanish. “I think our national anthem should be sung in English,” Villaraigosa said, adding, “I don’t know that we need a resolution for that. It’s just common sense.” last_img read more