Working with Wendy Greuel, then Chair of the City Council's Transportation Committee, Villaraigosa issued an executive directive aimed at banning road construction during rush hour in traffic-plagued Los Angeles, and established anti-gridlock zones and launched Tiger Teams to improve traffic flow during peak rush hour times.Villaraigosa even publicly pledged to take the subway to work one day a month, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. In February 2010, Villaraigosa traveled to Washington, D. in order to promote a "Ten/Thirty" plan that requests an .8 billion bridge loan to augment the .8 billion expected from Measure R tax revenues.In 1998, Villaraigosa was chosen by his colleagues to be the Speaker of the Assembly, the first from Los Angeles in 25 years.He left the Assembly in 2000 after serving three two-year terms.
In 1990, Villaraigosa was appointed to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Board, where he served until 1994.
Villaraigosa's 30/10 plan eventually morphed into the America Fast Forward program and was passed by the United States Congress.
On Saturday July 18, 2010, Villaraigosa fell from his bicycle after being cut off by a taxi driver; Villaraigosa suffered a broken elbow in the fall, and the taxi driver fled the scene.
During his tenure as mayor, he gained national attention for his work and was featured in Time's story on the country's 25 most influential Latinos.
He was the first Mexican American in over 130 years to have served as Mayor of Los Angeles.