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Letters: Pats on the back for Villaraigosa

Re “Promises, promises,” Opinion, July 16

Jim Newton doesn’t give L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa enough credit. Congress’ passage of the transportation bill, including the America Fast Forward provision that Villaraigosa championed, was a giant step forward for transit advocates.

For the first time, a national transportation bill provides a funding vehicle that allows local transit agencies to borrow federal funds to build transit projects now, with the commitment that the funds will be paid back over time. Villaraigosa single-handedly willed America Fast Forward into law. He amassed an unprecedented coalition of mayors and local officials throughout the nation, and he garnered the crucial support of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers.

That this bill did not include all the money required to fund L.A.'s pending transit projects was not surprising. That America Fast Forward was included in the bill at any level, however, was nothing short of miraculous.

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Zev Yaroslavsky

Los Angeles

The writer is the L.A. County supervisor for the 3rd District.

Perhaps Villaraigosa has fallen short on some of his goals, but he’s trying. Expectations are one thing; reality may be something different.

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Villaraigosa has accomplished much: reduced crime and gang violence; modernization of the Los Angeles International Airport and the Port of L.A.; improvements in public schools; and reduced greenhouse gases. The jury is still out on America Fast Forward, but it will probably improve public transit.

Perhaps he did promise a million trees, but we nevertheless have several hundred thousand more than we would have had otherwise. Sure, he fell short of his goal of 10,000 police officers, but he’s not far off with 9,947.

Villaraigosa has some solid accomplishments. Give credit where credit is due.

George Epstein

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Los Angeles

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