Bee hatch

Newsom appoints Villaraigosa to secure infrastructure funds.

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Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks on a cellphone Thursday outside the construction site of the brackish water desalination project at the Antioch Water Treatment Plant after Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the former Speaker of the State Assembly will serve as an infrastructure adviser for the state.

hamezcua@sacbee.com

Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday that former Los Angeles mayor and gubernatorial opponent Antonio Villaraigosa would become an infrastructure adviser to the state of California.

The meeting follows US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announces $2.2 billion in grants under the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program, $120 million of which will go to Californian projects.

Newsom said in a statement that Villaraigosa will help prioritize and secure funding for various transit system improvements across the state, including Merced extension of the highly controversial high-speed train project.

“With this influx of federal dollars, we have an incredible opportunity to rebuild California while creating good jobs, modernizing critical infrastructure, and accelerating our progress on clean transportation, benefiting communities across the state. “, Newsom said. “Antonio has the extensive experience and connections to deliver on this promise and bring together the many partners who will be key to our success.”

Villaraigosa will serve as a liaison between local elected officials and federal leaders in DC He will not be a state employee. Her position will be funded through a partnership with the nonprofit California Forward.

Newsom and Villaraigosa faced off in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary, during which Villaraigosa ran ads accusing Newsom of “bragging” and “overselling his accomplishments.” The videos, which have since been taken down, were paid for by billionaire supporters of the charter school movement.

Newsom won the primary with over a million votes, but the two reunited after months of sparring unite against Republican John Cox. Villaraigosa served as mayor of Los Angeles from 2005 to 2013, and was the city’s first Latino mayor since 1872. He left office in 2013 with a 47% approval rate after overseeing California’s most populous city during the national housing crisis and economic recession.

This story was originally published August 11, 2022 1:15 p.m.

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