LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Chair Joseph Czyzyk joined a panel of local elected officials, labor and civic leaders today testifying before Congress to expand a federal loan program to accelerate the completion of major infrastructure projects. The Chamber was the only local business organization invited to speak before the committee.
Testifying before Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) and other members of Congress during a field hearing held in Los Angeles, Czyzyk emphasized the business community’s willingness to collaborate with labor and civic leaders, as well as an openness to consider Public-Private Partnerships that would improve local infrastructure.
“An enhanced Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program could see a 30 to 1 return,” Czyzyk said. “By investing $1 of federal money as a low interest loan against our infrastructure bonds, locally we put $30 to work. As a business owner, that makes good sense to me … low risk, high return. This is the kind of collaboration we need from Washington.”
Czyzyk also reminded the Committee members of the unique and important role that the Ports of Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport play in U.S. trade and the need to continually improve those assets.
The nine-person panel included Los Angeles City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, MTA Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, local labor leadership, and transportation and environmental officials from Riverside and Orange counties.
Sen. Boxer was present as the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public works and Rep. Mica as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
"We believe, all of us, coming from different parties and different places ... now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on a transportation bill," Boxer said.
“Anyone who comes to Los Angeles and thinks we do not need improvements in transportation must be living on another planet,” Mica said.
"When they came to me with this idea I embraced it immediately because it was really a no-brainer," said Boxer. "We're getting the ability to give Los Angeles ... the ability to get a $500 million loan and the cost to the federal government is $20 million."
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.