This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more, or subscribe to our free daily newsletter and the California Politics Podcast.

California politics

Garcetti asks Trump administration for subway funds to help with Olympics bid

 (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is in Washington on Monday and Tuesday, hoping to sway transportation officials into fast-tracking $1.3 billion for the final stage of the city's new Metro line to Westwood ahead of a decision on the city’s 2024 Olympic bid.

The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to choose in September whether Los Angeles or Paris will host the 2024 Games, and officials just spent three days in Los Angeles doing a final walk-through. Traffic and congestion have been raised consistently as potential pitfalls of the city's bid, and Garcetti said in an interview Monday that having the subway funding assured and the project sped up by September could help L.A.’s chances.

Garcetti made the request directly to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a meeting Monday.

The passage of Measure M, the transportation sales tax that county voters approved in November, and the $1 billion in tax money it is expected to raise, has shaved years off the original completion date for the Purple line, but Garcetti said it likely isn’t enough to get the final leg done by 2024 without additional federal funding.

President Trump has signaled that he is excited to have America host the Summer Games for the first time since they were held in Atlanta in 1996.

Garcetti is hoping the administration’s desire to host the Games will be enough to get additional money from the New Starts fund, which helps cities pay for transportation projects that cost over $300 million.

Los Angeles just received $1.6 billion in January to begin the next phase of the Purple line.

Whatever is left of the fund at the end of the fiscal year gets swept back into the Treasury, and Garcetti has his sights on the remainder.

“There’s almost no other project in America that could use it,” Garcetti said. “So from a [Transportation Department] perspective, do you want to spend this money or like go back into the morass of the federal budget? It just goes back to the Treasury.”

Times reporter Laura J. Nelson contributed to this story.

Latest updates

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World