My recent article on L.A.'s transit spending plan got reprinted in the L.A. Business Journal and now draws a response from one Michael Kelly of something called the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs.
I can't call Kelly's piece a rebuttal because Kelly declines to address anything I wrote. For example, he refers without specifics to funding that will come from local Measure R and from the Department of Transportation's TIFIA lending program – as if this is new information – even though in my article I went into some detail about these two funding sources, and I even looked stuff up and called people to find out whether the money coming from these sources would come close to covering projected costs. (It doesn't.)
But that's fair enough. This is a Blowback-type column, where you really just use the original article as a hook to recite your talking points. The LABJ requires a subscription to read the article, so to give you a sense of Kelly's argument, here are the topic sentences for every paragraph, in random order:
Whether you drive, bike, bus or ride the train from one location to the next, the sorry state of our transportation infrastructure affects you. Right now, one-third of our country's major roads are in poor condition and nearly 14 million Americans are jobless. The America Fast Forward plan (formerly 30/10) to speed up transportation funding is a legitimate solution to improve L.A.'s roads and railways, and revitalize our economy.
The op-ed by Tim Cavanaugh in the June 13 issue of the Business Journal ("Villaraigosa's 30/10 – Show me the Money") was dead wrong. We are not asking for a government handout. The fact is that this plan makes so much sense that unlikely allies have joined forces. This is a plan that recognizes our tax dollars are best spent in and by our own communities.
America Fast Forward utilizes a number of innovative financing tools that do not add to our nation's debt problems. Democratic and Republican Senate leaders are already offering solutions to reauthorize our federal transportation financing tools while empowering cities to strategically leverage local funds with federal dollars to create jobs now. Expanding the act would enable America Fast Forward to become a reality for more than a million Americans who are ready to get back to work, building a 21st century transportation infrastructure on a faster time line.
America Fast Forward is a collaboration that promises to generate more than 1 million jobs and build our country's infrastructure faster and more efficiently, putting people back to work now. Some may argue that this is just another politically motivated, misguided plan that will simply spend more money rather than actually jumpstart our economy.
Well, that's totally persuasive. But Kelly left out his best point: "Monorail!"