Antonio Villaraigosa, State of the Air

The Huffington Post

April 28, 2010

Today, I was with Jane Warner, CEO of the American Lung Association in California, to announce the results of the "2010 State of the Air" report and to emphasize our responsibility to improve the air we breathe.

We're making progress here in Los Angeles, with the number of high ozone days dropping 25 percent since the release of the 2000 report. That's a major accomplishment!

But despite this good news, we're still one of America's most polluted cities To protect the future health of our kids and our City, we have our work cut out for us. The time to accept this challenge, and take collective action, is now.

First of all, we need to continue to invest in renewable energy and eliminate our dependence on coal as a main energy source. Buy transforming our City into a center of the new green economy, we'll not only create thousands of good, 21st century jobs, we'll dramatically improve our air quality and the health of all Angelenos.

We also need to improve and encourage the use of our public transportation systems. I'm working hard to push our 30/10 initiative, which would use Measure R funding to build our transit projects in ten years instead of thirty. 30/10 Initiative will create over 160,000 jobs, and take 570,000 pounds of pollutants out of the air each year!

And we're not stopping there. We're setting an international example by taking the kinds of simple, measured actions that reap big environmental benefits on a local level. A good example is our LED Street Light Replacement Program--the largest program of its kind in the world-which is replacing 140,000 street lights with clean, efficient LED lights. The program is going to eliminate more than 40,500 tons of C02.

And we're cleaning up the Port of Los Angeles, the largest single source of air pollution in the Region. Through the Clean Truck Program, we helped put more than 6,600 clean trucks on the roads around the Port, reducing port truck emissions by at least 70 percent.

The City of Angels no longer needs to be known for smog and sprawl, but it will take our collective efforts to ensure that we will all breathe cleaner air. Government action is key, but there are many, simple things people can do to help reduce air pollution: drive one less day per week, bike and walk as often as possible, avoid burning wood.

If we work together, we can and will be the greenest, cleanest big City in America.

For full report, regional analysis, fact sheets and tips, visit the American Lung Association's website.