Biden treks to Metro construction site in LA to talk infrastructure spending, jobs, inflation – LA Daily News

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President Joe Biden talks about investing in the nation’s infrastructure at the construction site of the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Construction workers who are building the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension listen to President Joe Biden talk about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden visits with construction workers who are building the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension after talking about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden talks about investing in the nation’s infrastructure at the construction site of the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Construction workers who are building the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension listen to President Joe Biden talk about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden visits the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site to talk about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden talks about investing in the nation’s infrastructure at the construction site of the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden talks about investing in the nation’s infrastructure at the construction site of the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden visits the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site to talk about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Rep. Maxine Waters speaks with LA City Councilman Paul Krekorian as they wait for President Joe Biden at the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site where Biden spoke about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Yurvina Hernandez, of El Monte and who is a laborer with Local 300, introduces President Joe Biden at the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site where she works and where Biden spoke about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden visits the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site to talk about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022 with Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for mayor.(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Yurvina Hernandez, of El Monte and who is a laborer with Local 300, introduces President Joe Biden at the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site where she works and where Biden spoke about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

LA City Councilman Paul Krekorian speaks with Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for mayor, as they wait for President Joe Biden at the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site where Biden spoke about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Rep. Maxine Waters speaks with LA City Councilman Paul Krekorian as they wait for President Joe Biden at the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site where Biden spoke about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Yurvina Hernandez, of El Monte and who is a laborer with Local 300, introduces President Joe Biden at the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site where she works and where Biden spoke about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden visits the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site to talk about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022 with Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for mayor.(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for mayor, speaks before President Joe Biden as he visits the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension construction site to talk about investing in the nation’s infrastructure in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden visits with the crowd after talking about investing in the nation’s infrastructure at the construction site of the Metro D Line (Purple) Extension in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 13, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden rolled into a Los Angeles County Metro subway construction site on Thursday, Oct. 13 for a gathering of Southern California officials during a pivotal time as the midterm elections draw near.
In a 20-minute speech, Biden broached a wide range of topics, from reducing the rate of inflation, lowering prescription drug costs, and investing in America’s bridges, roads, internet and mass transit.
The president touted his $1 trillion infrastructure law on Thursday while overlooking a site where a tunneling machine has paved the way for a subway line extension 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.
The president spoke of a provision in the infrastructure law that prioritizes hiring local workers for federally funded projects. The D Line (Purple) extension has 100,000 workers building that extension, many from Southern California.
“We are standing up for working people,” Biden declared. “And the right to get a raise and get a better job.”
L.A. mayor candidate Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, was among dignitaries joining Biden at the event, as was L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Hawthorne.
“This was an extraordinary speech, one I’ve been waiting to hear for years,” Garcetti said as he left the venue. He said the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress with Republican votes and signed into law last fall will accelerate the building of rail projects in the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Southeast LA County and at LAX. “It will keep us on time and for some, ahead of schedule.”
The three-state trip that includes two days in Southern California has been characterized as part of the strategy of a president with low approval ratings promoting his administration’s accomplishments, while at the same time raising money for Democratic Party candidates.
“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.”

President Joe Biden heads to Marine One after landing at Los Angeles International Airport for a two-day visit to the Southland on Wednesday, October 12, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Sen. Alex Padilla and his wife Angela Monzon greet President Joe Biden as he arrives at Los Angeles International Airport for a two-day visit to the Southland on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 as Mayor Eric Garcetti stands by. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden fist pumps Mayor Eric Garcetti as he arrives at Los Angeles International Airport for a two-day visit to the Southland on Wednesday, October 12, 2022. Sen. Alex Padilla and his wife Angela Monzan and Rep. Karen Bass also greeted him.(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport for a two-day visit to the Southland on Wednesday, October 12, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden leaves Los Angeles International Airport on Marine One as he visits the Southland on Wednesday, October 12, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport for a two-day visit to the Southland on Wednesday, October 12, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden landed in L.A. on Wednesday, Oct. 12, for a two-day swing through Southern California. On the tarmac to greet him included Sen. Alex Padilla, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rep. Karen Bass. (Photo by Kristy Hutchings).

President Joe Biden hugs Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for LA Mayor, as he arrives at Los Angeles International Airport for a two-day visit to the Southland on Wednesday, October 12, 2022. Sen. Alex Padilla and Mayor Eric Garcetti also greeted him.(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

President Joe Biden landed in L.A. on Wednesday, Oct. 12, for a two-day swing through Southern California. (Photo by Kristy Hutchings)

President Joe Biden arrives at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday, Los Angeles CA. Oct 12,2022. Biden will begin a roughly two-day Southland visit that will include a pair of appearances and a political fundraiser.. (Photo by Gene Blevins/ /Contributing Photographer)

Biden landed at LAX Wednesday afternoon.
Sen. Alex Padilla, his wife Angela, Garcetti and Bass greeted the president on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday as he deplaned Air Force One. 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 Los Angeles County.
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.
“A trip from Koreatown to the VA campus which now takes an hour by bus will shrink to 25 minutes by rail,” said Biden. “We expect to see 80,000 more riders on LA Metro Rail every day.”
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.
“This is just one project the infrastructure law is making possible,” Biden said of the Purple Line extension. He also mentioned “moving forward” with the East San Fernando Valley Light-Rail project.
Pomona Mayor and LA Metro Board Member Tim Sandoval, who attended the speech, said the infrastructure law will provide funds to LA Metro, which could then make extra space in the budget to help pay for the Metro L (Gold) Line foothill extension from Pomona to Claremont and Montclair. It would be the first LA Metro light-rail line to extend into San Bernardino County.
“There are critical needs in Los Angeles County that can be met with federal investment. Federal funds are needed to build the 19.3-mile West Santa Ana Branch (rail line) from Artesia to Union Station, and to expand our bus lanes and bus rapid transit networks,” wrote First District Supervisor Hilda Solis in an email.
The event took place within the third supervisorial district, currently represented by Third District LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who is stepping down in December, setting up a two-person battle in November. Kuehl was invited to the event but declined to attend, said a source from her office.
Biden spoke on a new report out Thursday on the high rate of inflation plaguing Americans. “Today’s report shows some progress: overall, inflation was 2% over the last 3 months; that is down from 11% over the prior three months.” However, the cost of gasoline is highest in California than in any other state.
“The price of gas is still too high and we need to keep working to bring it down,” Biden said.
The president touted the Inflation Reduction Act he signed as a help to seniors because it will cap the cost of prescription drugs at $2,000 a year and giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.
He also announced that Social Security benefits will go up on average of $140 a month.
According to the White House, the president came to West L.A. to discuss “historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure.” He was scheduled to attend a DCCC fundraiser later Thursday, then travel to Irvine Valley College in 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.
The president last visited Los Angeles in June, when he hosted the Summit of the Americas — a gathering of global political leaders. He also headlined two Democratic National Committee fundraisers on that trip. During that trip, first lady Jill Biden delivered a commencement speech to Los Angeles City College graduates, among other things.
This time around, the president arrived in the region mere weeks before the midterm elections — during which the Democratic Party, and the chief executive are fighting to maintain majority control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.
The California Republican Party chided Biden’s visit, calling the state an “odd choice” for the president to choose “as a backdrop for bragging about his failed policies,” noting the national-high cost of gas, rising crime and homelessness.
“If President Biden is looking for a sympathetic audience to high-five him for a job well done, he’s come to the wrong state,” state Republican Party Chair Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement. “Californians are suffering under the reckless policies of Joe Biden and the California Democrats who enable his failed agenda. Make no mistake — the path to the House majority runs straight through our state, and California voters will ensure that Republicans are put in charge to turn our country around from the mess that Democrats have made.”
The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report
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