Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Mayor Eric Garcetti used a Washington Post-sponsored discussion on traffic problems Tuesday to call for government to pursue more public-private partnerships to reduce congestion.

There is “a ton of money” available, “whether it’s from union pension funds, whether it’s other institutional investors that are lined up for infrastructure,” Garcetti said at the “America Answers” discussion on ideas for fixing commute-related problems such as traffic congestion and safety where he was joined by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“They’re waiting for anything,” Garcetti said. “They’ll jump on any deal that happens, but it’s just not happening, so we don’t really have a public-private partnership on infrastructure I can point to in Los Angeles.”

Garcetti said this lack of private sector involvement prompted him as the chair of the Metro board to make public-private partnership his priority, adding that the transportation agency is now “moving very aggressively on that.”

He also noted that the failure of Chicago’s privatization of parking meters, which locked taxpayers into a 75-year lease that the city ultimately lost money on, is instructive in that it teaches other public agencies that it is important to frame and design these deals properly.

Garcetti’s schedule in Washington also includes meetings with the South Korean and Japanese ambassadors, cabinet members and staff and others to prepare for his Nov. 15-26 trade mission to Japan, China and South Korea.

He is set to meet with Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan about Los Angeles funding needs.

Garcetti will join U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras- Sweet in speaking at the Champions of Change awards event Wednesday recognizing employers who help their workers navigate the citizenship naturalization process.

Garcetti will be in Washington until Wednesday.

City News Service

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