The United States Senate passed legislation Wednesday, September 12th, repealing the federal ban on subway tunneling along the Wilshire Corridor.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the move brings his vision of a “subway to the sea” one step closer to reality.

“This is a great victory for Los Angeles that moves us closer to

building a subway to the sea to help get the city moving again,” Villaraigosa said. “Very few issues affect the quality of life in Los Angeles more than traffic gridlock. Getting stuck in traffic is more than just an inconvenience — it keeps us away from our families, it pollutes our environment and it costs our economy.”

The mayor continued, “I would like to thank Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Congressman Henry Waxman for their leadership and commitment to the people of Los Angeles.

“I urge both the Senate and House of Representatives to send it as quickly as possible to President Bush’s desk for signature.”

The Senate voted 88-7 to approve its version of the fiscal year (“FY08”) Transportation Appropriations bill. The $104.6 billion

spending package includes language that repeals the longstanding federal ban that prevented the use of federal funding for a subway project along the Wilshire corridor.

The provision, sponsored by Feinstein and Boxer, is identical to the one in the House Transportation Appropriations bill which passed in February.

The legislation will now go to a conference committee of both Senate and House members to reconcile differences before heading to the President’s desk for signature.