Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa touted the half-million jobs a recent study concluded would be the spoils of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's ambitious, 30-year plan to expand light rail throughout the region. The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation paper, which focuses on the Measure R transportation projects that will benefit from a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2008, is not without its doubters.

“When the voters of Los Angeles County decided to tax themselves through Measure R, they put in motion a vision for better transit, green job creation, and clean air,” Villaraigosa said in a statement released late Thursday.

“Of the half million jobs that Measure R will create, we can realize 165,000 of them in the next ten years by accelerating the transit projects to a ten year schedule instead of 30,” he said. “In light of the recession, unemployment, and deteriorating budget, we can't get those jobs fast enough.”

Villaraigosa traveled to Washington, D.C. last month to lobby for federal cash that would accelerate construction on projects such as the mayor's beloved “subway to the sea” beneath Wilshire Boulvard.

While Measure R is expected to pull in $40 billion in sales taxes, the LAEDC states that the projects it creates will generate an economic impact of nearly $69 billion for L.A. County.

LA Weekly