Biden rolls to Metro construction site in LA to talk infrastructure spending – Orange County Register


President Joe Biden rolled into a Los Angeles Metro construction site on Thursday, Oct. 13 for a gathering of Southern California officials during a pivotal time as the midterm elections draw near.

Biden spoke on a wide range of topics, from lower prescription drug costs, to reducing inflation and investing in Americans bridges, roads and transit systems.

The president touted his $1 trillion infrastructure plan on Thursday while overlooking a site where a tunneling machine has paved the way for a subway line extension running under Wilshire Boulevard that will connect Downtown Los Angeles with the Westside.

“As for building infrastructure, the United States was ranked 13th in the world. We should be ranked No. 1,” he said.

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rep. Karen Bass talks to LA City Council member Paul Krekorian before President Joe Biden arrives Thursday. Photo: Steve Scauzillo

L.A. mayor candidate Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, was among dignitaries joining Biden at the event.

The three-state trip includes two days in Southern California has been characterized as part of the strategy of a president who has struggled with low poll approval rating promoting his administration’s accomplishments, while at the same time raising money for Democratic Party candidates. He was in Colorado on Wednesday and after his stay in California, is headed for Oregon on Friday.

“We’ve been very clear that the president is going to go out, the vice president is going to go out,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. “They’re going to talk about the successes that we have seen in this administration in the last 19 months.”

Biden landed at LAX Wednesday afternoon.

Sen. Alex Padilla, his wife Angela, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rep. Karen Bass, greeted the president on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport as he deplaned Air Force One. Under overcast skies, the group exchanged brief conversation, hugs and handshakes before Biden departed once more on Marine One, a presidential helicopter.

Neither Biden, nor the other elected officials present, stopped to give remarks or address the gaggle of reporters on the runway.

The location of Thursday’s event shone the spotlight on infrastructure spending in the Los Angeles area.

The Purple (D Line) extension will extend the subway from Koreatown at Wilshire and Western to the Westwood/VA station, the western terminus, near where Biden gave his remarks.

It includes nine miles of new subway service and seven new stations. Construction, which started in 2014, is happening in three phases simultaneously, with the first section expected to be completed in 2024, the second in 2025 and the third in 2027.

The total cost of building the extension, including finance costs, is about $9.5 billion, Metro reported.

Even before the infrastructure bill was passed, the Federal Transit Administration has supplied LA Metro with grants amounting to half the cost of the extension. This included a $1.3-billion federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation given in May 2021 to help finance phase three, from Century City to the western terminus.

The event took place within the third supervisorial district, currently represented by county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who is stepping down in December. Kuehl was invited to the event but declined to attend, said a source from her office.

According to the White House, the president came to west Los Angeles  to discuss “historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure.” He will also attend the DCCC fundraiser later Thursday, then travel to Orange County on Friday to discuss “lowering costs for American families,” according to the White House. The president will leave the area Friday, bound for Portland, Oregon.

To counter Republican criticisms over the economy and inflation, Democratic candidates have highlighted accomplishments such as bipartisan infrastructure, manufacturing laws, and a sweeping climate, tax and health care package. Those achievements also helped prompt a late-summer uptick in Biden’s own job performance ratings earlier this year.

Biden will also attend a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser on Thursday, and will travel to Irvine Valley College in Orange County on Oct. 14 to speak about lowering costs for Americans.

The president’s Orange County visit will highlight “his efforts to lower prescription drug costs, protect Medicare and strengthen Social Security, and to fight efforts by congressional Republicans to put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block and reinstate giveaways to Big Pharma,” according to Jean-Pierre.



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