LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to eliminate most of the 229 vehicles in the city’s executive motor pool, as well as cars from other fleets, to help close a $155-million shortfall, according to the Los Angeles Times.
But some in City Hall say that stripping away these “home garage” cars, most of which are fuel-efficient, would only undermine Villaraigosa’s promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and turn Los Angeles into the “greenest and cleanest big city in America.”
Those who stand to lose their Toyota Priuses and Honda Civics would instead have to rely on personal cars, many of them SUVs, minivans, and sedans.
Several City Council members said that Villaraigosa’s plan is shortsighted and that any savings might be offset by reimbursements to workers for racking up mileage on the job and the costs of increased pollution. Under the mayor’s proposal, which requires City Council approval, the 18 elected city leaders would be allowed to keep their city-issued wheels.
Villaraigosa said that leaders must set an example as they roll out budget-tightening proposals that would put a financial squeeze on city operations and thousands of workers. He is asking city employees, except those in public safety, to voluntary take five unpaid furlough days by Jul. 1. His office said that any increase in carbon dioxide emissions would be countered by other budget proposals, including one to sell 512 additional vehicles in the city’s vast automotive fleet and others to reduce the city government’s fuel consumption to 1998 levels and its energy use by 10 percent, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The money-saving measures are part of a broader strategy by Villaraigosa to free up money for expanding the Los Angeles Police Department. There are currently 1,105 LAPD take-home cars in. Villaraigosa’s budget proposal calls for eliminating just 31 take-home cars driven by civilian LAPD employees and nine from civilians at the Fire Department, which has 73 take-home vehicles.
Under Villaraigosa’s proposal, the 15 council offices would lose 93 of 108 cars. The city attorney’s office would have to give back nine of 10 vehicles, and the city controller’s office would lose three of four. The cuts would also affect 19 department general managers and the city’s five public works commissioners. Villaraigosa’s office would lose 27 of its 28 cars, leaving only the mayor with a city-issued GMC Yukon.