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Biden touts ‘infrastructure decade’ in LA visit

Biden spoke at the construction site of a future D Line subway stop, which officials hope will be open in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — President Joe Biden, visiting Los Angeles for a pair of Democratic fundraisers, made time for a stop Thursday at the sprawling West LA Veterans Administration campus where a new subway station is being constructed to tout his own accomplishments and take a few swipes at the Republican Party.

In particular, he sought to highlight the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, which he signed last year.

"Instead of infrastructure week being a punchline under my predecessor, infrastructure decade is a headline on my watch, for the next 10 years," Biden said. "The bipartisan infrastructure law includes the largest investment in public transit in the history of America. There's no better example of what’s happening than right here in Los Angeles."

Among the slew of public transit projects funded by the bill is the extension of LA Metro's D Line, formerly known as the Purple Line. One of only two subways in Los Angeles, the D Line runs just 6.4 miles, from Union Station in downtown to Koreatown. A westward extension of the line is currently under construction. Four miles of line and three more stations are scheduled to open in 2024, taking it to Wilshire and La Cienega. Ultimately, the D LIne will reach UCLA and to the VA campus in Brentwood. Officials hope those two stations will be open for the start of the 2028 Summer Olympics, the city's third time to host the games.

The Purple Line extension is the most expensive piece of what is an ambitious public transit expansion in LA County. Over the weekend, the city's newest light rail line opened — the K Line — which cuts through Leimert Park, Inglewood and other key neighborhoods in South LA. Eventually, the route will take passengers within people-mover range of Los Angeles International Airport.

"The transit system needs an upgrade, badly," said Biden. "You know that. You need to connect more neighborhoods." He added: "That’s exactly what you’re doing. It’s funded in part by this infrastructure law, and local taxes."

Biden began his 20-minute speech by addressing the latest Consumer Price Index Report, which showed prices have risen 8.2% compared to a year ago.

"Americans are being squeezed by the cost of living," he said. "It’s been true for years, and folks don't’ need a report to know they’re being squeezed."

He added: "The price of gas is still too high. I’ll have more to say about that next week."

With the November election clearly at the forefront of the president's mind, Biden said the Republicans would only make things worse.

"Republicans win, inflation’s gonna get worse," Biden said. "It's that simple."

After the speech, the president stood for selfies with local politicians. He then visited Tacos 1986 with Congresswoman Karen Bass, who's running for LA mayor, and LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis, where he reportedly ordered two chicken quesadillas.

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