Moving to harness a once-in-a-generation investment under the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Gov. Gavin Newsom recently named former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to serve as an Infrastructure Advisor to the State of California, working with local, state and federal leaders to identify priority projects and maximize access to federal funding across all regions of the state.

The governor’s announcement comes as the U.S. Department of Transportation outlined $120 million in funding that California will receive for eight projects through the IIJA Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program to improve and modernize transportation infrastructure.

The funding includes $20 million for the Port of Los Angeles for its Terminal Island Grade Separation and $15 million for the Inglewood Transit Connector Project. 

“With this influx of federal dollars, we have an incredible opportunity to rebuild California while creating quality jobs, modernizing crucial infrastructure, and accelerating our clean transportation progress, benefiting communities up and down the state,” said Newsom. “Antonio has the extensive experience and relationships to deliver on this promise and bring together the many partners who will be key to our success. I look forward to his collaboration with the administration as we build up communities across California.”

Villaraigosa will not be a state employee. This position is supported through a partnership with California Forward, which will collaborate with him and members of the administration on local engagement efforts.

Prior to serving two terms as mayor of LA, Villaraigosa served as a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 2003 to 2005. From 1994 through 2000, Villaraigosa served in the California State Assembly as Democratic Whip, Majority Leader and Speaker of the Assembly. He was a member of President Obama’s Transition Economic Advisory Board, the 2012 Chairman of the Democratic National Convention and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. 

Villaraigosa is currently a partner and co-chair at Actum, where he focuses on strategic and crisis communication consulting to senior executives in large public and private sector organizations.

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