First, I’d like to thank Mayor Villaraigosa for welcoming the Rail-volution Conference to Los Angeles. His vision and leadership have been paramount in bringing new transit projects to this city.
I’d also like to thank Congressman Blumenauer of Oregon, the birthplace of Railvolution, and Doctor Beverly Scott from Metro Atlanta. Their stewardship has been vital, and I thank them for their years of service and contributing to the national debate on transit.
Communities need to be mobile. It’s a need shared by everyone and everything: people, goods, information. Mobility means jobs and spending; it means investment in the future. Mobility, in all its forms, is the foundation of economic activity and the lynchpin of economic development. For every dollar we put into sustainable transit, we get back two dollars in energy savings, three dollars in increased retail sales and dozens of jobs.
Reduced mobility impedes development while greater mobility is a catalyst for development. The more mobile we are, the stronger our economy is going to be. It’s that simple. It’s not just an economic imperative, though. For me, mobility is a social imperative. Every citizen has a right to live where they can afford to live and to efficiently travel to where the jobs are.
Mobility is the reason we’re all here today. Transit represents the promise of mobility. Transit solutions like light rail help slow the growth of congestion. They support development and redevelopment of attractive, convenient, livable communities.
Railvolution is at the forefront of a renaissance in public transportation. As a passionate advocate for sustainable transit, I support the conference’s goal of creating a national movement to build livable communities with transit.
With federal funding dollars so scarce, it’s incumbent on all of us to strategically engage our leaders and support visionary transportation projects that connect people with jobs and cultural activities, and business with opportunities to do business—just as Mayor Villaraigosa has done here in Los Angeles with Measure R.
Investing in transit means investing in people, and that’s what the Railvolution Conference is all about. I am thrilled that our city has opened its arms to Railvolution, and I’d like to invite you to take a short ride with us to the Hollywood and Vine station where we’ll discuss the hotels, retail and affordable housing that have developed in that area of Hollywood. You also may wish to ride further to the new Grand Park downtown.
Either way, come travel with us! Thank you.