reduce the wait time at intersections. Coupled with other design features -- such as limited stops, low floor buses, and on the Orange Line, fare pre-payment -- travel speed is 25 percent faster than conventional local buses. Citywide deployment of both first- and second-generation ATSAC will be completed over the next three and a half years.

Los Angeles also encourages telecommuting, flexible work schedules, compressed workweeks and carpooling to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.

CIO Thera Bradshaw said you're committed to deploying wireless Internet access throughout the city -- why is this technology important? What is your vision for implementing it?

Villaraigosa: We live in a mobile and global world. We depend on technology in the office, out of the office, on the go and in transit. Probably the largest challenge for us is being able to connect -- any place, any time -- with our business office. It's a challenge for us because we're working in an environment that is, for the most part, wired. It's an evolution that has been occurring over the past several years to go to an unwired world and a totally electronic world, as opposed to paper.

We're not there yet. We're still operating in both of these platforms.

I believe Los Angeles, within the next few years, should ensure that high-speed Internet access is available and affordable for anyone who wants it anywhere in the city. I believe it is possible to implement strategies to accomplish that mission in ways that will support my goal of making city government more efficient and accessible by providing mobile workers with ready access to databases in the office from anywhere in the community. This includes applications for public safety and emergency response, utility and infrastructure operations, building inspections, and reduced telecommunication costs.

These strategies also support my goal in helping close the digital divide -- filling in gaps in access with affordable broadband services. While cable modem and DSL services are now widely available, there are still business districts and neighborhoods that can't get service or can't afford available services. Looking at a comprehensive program including access, equipment, focused content, and training and support will also help close the digital divide.

Lastly, it's possible to implement strategies that will also support my goal of accelerating economic development -- supporting the economic development of the region by attracting business visitors and tourists, and helping local businesses compete.

City-sponsored wireless initiatives have been criticized as unfair competition by telecommunications providers. How will the city balance these concerns with the need to provide broad, low-cost Internet access?

Villaraigosa: Through public/private partnerships. I think with a project of this magnitude -- that is far-reaching enough to touch every resident and business throughout Los Angeles -- there is benefit for both government and private sector.

One of the best ways for a city the size of Los Angeles to achieve our goal in the next five years is to work with institutions in the private sector that share our vision and want to work in partnership with the city.

Broadband in local communities is about economic development. It's about tourism. It's about having conventions in your city because people are mobile and global. Through the assets and the resources we have in the city, and partnering with various industry companies, we'll have all public facilities unwired in three years and the entire city unwired within five years. Both government and the private sector can work together to achieve this goal and it will be beneficial for all partners.

What types of technologies do you find personally important in your daily tasks? Villaraigosa: Information and communications are the international currency of the 21st century. As I