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Mayor Eric Garcetti talks revitalizing L.A. River

City News Service | 10/29/2013, 11:40 a.m.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti talked about revitalizing the Los Angeles River and creating a series of parks along the ...
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti talked about revitalizing the Los Angeles River and creating a series of parks along the largely concrete-lined waterway at Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard’s “LA River Day” event in Washington, D.C.

He also met today with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy “to discuss a number of California issues,” Garcetti spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.

Garcetti and the City Council in August officially backed the $1 billion Alternative 20, the most expensive and comprehensive of four Los Angeles River revitalization options being considered by Congress.

“We’re at a key moment in our efforts to restore the L.A. River and I am making it clear to Washington that L.A. deserves Alternative 20, the most robust option and the only one that equitably shares costs,” Garcetti said.

The Army Corps of Engineers recently unveiled four restoration options -- ranging in cost from $375 million to more than $1 billion -- designed to return sections of the river, from Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles, to its natural state.

Each of the plans involve re-introducing layers of natural habitat over existing concrete. Sites that may be affected by the plans include Taylor Yard and the Verdugo Wash.

Army Corps engineers have tentatively recommended the second most conservative option, Alternative 13, which costs about $453 million and would restore about 588 acres of wildlife and aquatic habitat.

The public has until Nov. 18 to comment on an environmental impact study of the four options.

On Monday, Garcetti met with President Barack Obama, who welcomed the new mayor to Washington, and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to seek federal funding for mass transit.

Garcetti met Monday with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and a series of officials from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Management & Budge and the Department of Interior to pitch Alternative 20.

Garcetti was greeted personally by Obama on “his first trip” to the nation’s capital as mayor, mayoral spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.

Curry did not provide details of the meeting, only saying that the pair had a “good discussion.”

Garcetti met Foxx Monday evening, according Curry. Garcetti said last week he would ask Foxx for federal funding to help build a people mover at Los Angeles International Airport and expand the city’s commuter rail network, including bringing “mass transit into the airport.”

Curry said she was unable to elaborate on what was discussed in their talk, saying only that it was a “good” meeting.

A planned Crenshaw Line connecting the Expo and Green rail lines will run near the airport, but will not stop there. The existing Green Line stops 2.5 miles from the airport.

Garcetti also met with White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett to talk about a Los Angeles River revitalization project and other issues, Curry said. City Councilmen Bob Blumenfield, Gil Cedillo and Mitch O’Farrell, who were also in Washington to support Los Angeles River issues, participated in that meeting.