LOS ANGELES --- A new cost-cutting proposal from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, which would eliminate most of the vehicles in the city's executive motor pool as well as some cars from other fleets, is generating controversy. Critics argue that the plan undermines Villaraigosa's pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transform the city into the "greenest and cleanest big city in America," the L.A. Times reported.
The cars in question, issued to elected leaders and their top deputies, are mostly fuel-efficient vehicles like Toyota Priuses and Honda Civics. Critics of Villaraigosa's proposal argue that if the cars are returned to the City Hall motor pool for resale, city officials will be forced to rely on their own personal cars and that will translate into greater emissions.
The Mayor's proposal would require City Council approval.
"We have made great strides in diversifying the fleet to improve our air quality," Councilwoman Jan Perry, who drives a city-issued 2006 Honda Accord Hybrid, told the L.A. Times. "It would be a dereliction of our duties to take a step back."
But Villaraigosa counters that city leaders must set an example as the city starts implementing budget-tightening measures. In addition, his office has argued that other budget proposals will compensate for any increase in carbon dioxide emissions. For example, the mayor backs a plan to sell 512 additional vehicles in the city's fleet. Another proposal calls for reducing the city government's fuel consumption to 1998 levels.
Under Villaraigosa's plan, the 15 council offices would lose 93 of 108 cars. That leaves just one for each Council member. The major's office would lose 27 of its 28 cars, leaving only Villaraigosa with a city-issued GMC Yukon SUV. In total, 236 cars would be returned to the general City Hall motor pool for resale.