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What They’re Saying: State and Local Leaders Across California Applaud Selection of Antonio Villaraigosa as Infrastructure Advisor 

SACRAMENTO – State, local and transit leaders across California are expressing their support for Governor Gavin Newsom’s selection of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to serve as Infrastructure Advisor to the State of California. Leveraging his wide-ranging experience and cross-sector relationships, Villaraigosa will work with local, state and federal leaders to identify priority projects and maximize access to federal dollars.

Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego): “Naming Antonio to this role makes perfect sense. He has always had an affinity for infrastructure, knows our communities up and down California, and is an effective leader.”
 
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood): “It’s important for California to prioritize connecting with the federal government on infrastructure funding. We have shovel-ready projects that promote the kind of climate-responsible infrastructure that is needed, both here and nationally. A position like this and the selection of someone like Antonio Villaraigosa can help California get its share of the dollars to leverage those projects.”
 
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg: “Congratulations to my former Speaker and friend Antonio Villaraigosa and to Governor Newsom for this inspired choice. Antonio knows how to get it done. He knows and appreciates that infrastructure is about building and rebuilding our cities’ physical landscape. He has also dedicated his career to climate change, high wage job creation, and career technical education, all key pieces of our state’s infrastructure strategy. I could not be more pleased with the Governor’s decision.”
 
Oakland Mayor and Chair of the California Big City Mayors Coalition Libby Schaaf: “Mayors are thrilled that one of our own will lead California’s infrastructure program as we build back better and maximize the historic federal investments that will create and sustain good working-class jobs.”
 
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo: “Our collective ambitions to build a more sustainable, resilient, equitable, and safe California will benefit tremendously from Antonio Villaraigosa’s leadership and experience. Governor Newsom made an inspired choice for the benefit of our infrastructure, and our future.”
 
Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer: “The Governor’s selection of Antonio Villaraigosa as Infrastructure Advisor is an excellent choice. As a former Mayor, Antonio knows firsthand the needs of our cities and the importance infrastructure plays in many of our older neighborhoods that have been left behind. I am confident in Antonio’s ability to provide sound advice to our elected leaders so that they can make informed decisions on the state’s infrastructure needs.”
 
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: “Antonio’s extraordinary record of achievement and advocacy for the future of infrastructure makes him an excellent choice to lead this work in our state — and to press the case in Washington for the accelerated investment that cities need and deserve. He understands the stakes for our communities, always puts equity at the center of the conversation, and knows how to cut through bureaucracy to get big things done. The Governor has made an outstanding decision that will pay dividends for Californians now and in the years to come.”
 
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria: “As a former Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa uniquely understands the infrastructure needs of California’s cities. He is a proven leader who will bring a strong focus to California’s efforts to get its fair share of federal infrastructure dollars. As Mayor of San Diego, I am laser focused on ensuring we fix our crumbling roads, repair our aging water pipes, and address the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change. I look forward to working with Governor Newsom and Mr. Villaraigosa to help do that.”
 
California Transit Association Executive Director Michael Pimentel: “By selecting Villaraigosa, Governor Newsom has once again broadcast to the nation his intent to transform California’s infrastructure, with a heightened focus on sustainability, equity, and economic progress for all Californians. When Mayor of Los Angeles (2005 – 2013), Villaraigosa took on the herculean task of transforming California’s largest and famously car-centric city’s transportation network by championing investment in public transportation and bicycle and pedestrian projects. His leadership in support of Measure R, Los Angeles’ landmark transportation funding measure, delivered billions of dollars for transit and rail capital projects and operational upgrades that increased the frequency and reliability of public transportation, forever improving Los Angeles County…Villaraigosa is poised to share his knowledge, expertise, and political acumen with the State of California to ensure that the availability of new federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is effectively leveraged to deliver on California’s goals.”
 
Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento: “Congratulations to Antonio Villaraigosa on his new role as Gov. Newsom’s infrastructure advisor. Having a leader in this position with extensive experience addressing the needs of local government will be invaluable as the City of Santa Ana seeks federal funds to improve our roadways and facilities. One such project is the planned Santa Ana Boulevard grade separation adjacent to our transit center, which will improve traffic flow at a major railroad crossing by building a vehicle underpass, installing a pedestrian bridge and plaza, expanding sidewalks, and adding protected bikeways.”
 
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia: “Throughout his career, Villaraigosa has created effective partnerships and coalitions to deliver for Californians and he is the right person to help our state take advantage of this moment. It’s imperative that cities, the state and local partners collaborate on our shared priorities and make the most of federal funding to maintain and modernize infrastructure throughout our communities.”
 
Sacramento Area Council of Governments Executive Director James Corless: “The Sacramento region has been laying the groundwork to be infrastructure investment ready, so we are excited to have Antonio Villaraigosa at the helm and leading California’s efforts to be competitive for more federal funding. He’s uniquely qualified to help our region and the state continue to be at the cutting edge in infrastructure and transportation development.”
 
San Diego Association of Governments CEO Hasan Ikhrata: “SANDAG stands ready to partner with Mayor Villaraigosa to bring as many dollars to the San Diego region as possible. He is a leader for California, with tremendous experience, and thanks to the $300 million included in the state budget for the LOSSAN Realignment, we are positioned perfectly to attract federal dollars to advance this and other significant projects in the region.”
 
California Forward CEO Micah Weinberg: “California Forward is excited to be involved in this project which builds upon our existing work and successes, to ensure that the strategy developed reflects the priorities of the state’s regions. We are glad to be continuing our partnership with the administration on creating communities that are equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically vibrant, and we appreciate the Governor’s leadership and foresight in prioritizing this opportunity for California.”