Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: Money will go to L.A. schools

Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa talks to the media after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington on June 20, 2011.

Steve Chiotakis: President Obama today heads to
Richmond, Va., to pitch the jobs initiative he laid out last night -- a proposal, the president says, should have no problem finding support.

Barack Obama: There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, including many who sit here tonight.

Tax credits and small business incentives make up a lot of the proposal. We're going get to that in just a minute. There's also $85 billion in the pie for state and local governments -- to help teachers and police and firefighters in their jobs, even school repair and construction.

Los Angeles is the second largest city in America with nearly 4 million residents. And Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who attended last night's speech in Washington, is with us right now. Mr. Mayor, welcome.

Antonio Villaraigosa: It's great to be with you.

Chiotakis: We're talking a lot of money in aid for state and local governments. What's this going to do for L.A.?

Villaraigosa: It's going to give us an opportunity to build on a very, very ambitious program -- to double the size of the rail system, to synchronize our lights, repair our roads and our bridges. So there's widespread support for this. As you know, these are ideas and initiatives that Republicans and Democrats have not just supported, but voted for -- year, after year, after year.

Chiotakis: We're talking billions for schools and for repairs at schools. Why that, instead of other infrastructure projects? I'm sure L.A. could use a lot of that money in other areas, right?

Villaraigosa: Oh, we could use it in schools. We could use it to repair our bridges, our ports, our airports. We need to put people back to work, and construction particularly has a 35 - 40 percent unemployment rate. So whether they're building a school, bridge, or an airport or a port, we want to put them back to work. And many of our schools across the nation are in dilapidated condition -- this will help to make sure that our kids have a place to learn and to compete with other people around the world.

Chiotakis: Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles. Thank you, sir.

Villaraigosa: Take care.

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