Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti testified Thursday before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s first hearing of the 116th Congress.
The hearing was titled “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Investing in Our Nation’s Infrastructure Cannot Wait,” and was intended to examine the current state of the nation’s highways, bridges, transit systems, ports, and airports, the backlog of maintenance and repair needs and “the increasing costs of federal inaction,” according to Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, the committee’s chairman.
Garcetti appeared on a panel at the hearing at the Capitol Visitor Center with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Ray LaHood, a transportation secretary in the Obama administration, now a co-chair of Building America’s Future Education Fund, which bills itself as “a bipartisan coalition of elected officials dedicated to bringing about a new era of U.S. investment in infrastructure that enhances our nation’s prosperity and quality of life.”
Garcetti said he was “here with a clear message from America’s local communities that it’s time to pass an infrastructure package, comprehensive and now. And I think for most people this isn’t about miles paved or statistics, this is about stories and lives — how much time we can spend with our children, whether or not we can drink water from our taps, whether we have a smooth commute to work.”
Garcetti also said he was wearing “two hats” at the hearing, one as mayor, and the other as chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Infrastructure Task Force.
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Donald Trump said, “Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure. I know that Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill, and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting-edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.”
The trip is Garcetti’s third in three weeks. He was in Washington, D.C. Jan. 23-24 for the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 87th Winter Meeting and in Atlanta last weekend for Super Bowl LIII.
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