Pelosi Remarks at Transbay Transit Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined local officials and community members at the Transbay Transit Center for a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you [former Mayor] Willie Brown. What Willie meant when he said ‘any project’ is dirt to be turned – I always say to him, ‘If the community is together and there is consensus on a project, I can sell it in Washington by saying there is agreement and if we provide money for San Francisco, dirt will fly.’
Thank you [former Mayor] Willie Brown. It is an honor to be here with you and your vision. This venue had to replace something that was even dangerous to the public good, and thank you for your leadership in so many ways to our city both as a mayor and as Speaker for so many years.
I join in recognizing [Senator] Nancy Skinner and [Former President Pro Tem] John Burton – where is John? Give us a wave – thank you for your leadership in getting us to this place and Mayor Breed, congratulations on your work you did as Supervisor and President of the Board and for what you will be doing as Mayor of San Francisco because we have more to do especially in this project.
It is wonderful to be here with so many members of the official family of San Francisco in terms of the Mayor, Members of the Board, City Attorney, as well as Members from the State Legislature – Phil Ting, David Chiu – and as well as our Supervisor Jane Kim who is here because this is a representation of what can happen when people work together.
Public, private, nonprofit, community. The word community has the word unity in it and if there is anything that demonstrates the unity of our community – the work, the work of our skilled workers to make this possible. Let us applaud our union members.
When you see the tour, you will see the beauty that our artists and architects made here – so typical of San Francisco. San Francisco is the city that knows how. Mohammed [Nuru], thank you for your ongoing leadership. We’ve come together again and again. First to break ground then to pour cement and then unveil the Penrose awning.
I understand Roger Penrose is here and the beauty of it all and today, to cut the ribbon, for something so spectacular that will say to the rest of the country that these initiatives in our community are of national significance, a model for the country, of all the things Mayor Breed said about housing and economy and jobs and success.
I want to say something about President Barack Obama because – the resources – over $400 million dollars – even more than that for this project came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
One [week] and one day after the President’s inauguration – one [week and one] day after his inauguration, we passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and for our region that meant a billion dollars for the Central Subway, [Presidio] Parkway – $300 million dollars – Caltrain electrification – almost a billion dollars. Over $400 million dollars for this [the Salesforce Transit Center], closer to $700 when you add some of the other appropriations we got there. So that bill was very important for us to dispense. But the fact is, our community meant the standards – of course we wrote the bill – with standards our community could meet.
A model for the nation of national significance. I just want to say something – I am so glad Mohammed [Nuru] mentioned our dear Mayor [Ed] Lee – we certainly miss him but he was so operational having been Chief Administrative Officer [City Administrator] so he knew how to get things done and we certainly miss but we will always remember him and I want to join in acknowledging him.
But he saw and so many of you gathered here saw that this is a truly revolutionary initiative appropriate for this cradle of innovation that we live in. The Center not only curbs congestion and cuts down commutes, it transforms how we work, how we travel, how we live. And anything that has to do with infrastructures is about time – it’s about time we take people out of their cars, time the buses are not on the street. It’s about improving quality of life, quality of air. It’s about the good health of our children. It’s, again, about the time we save and that all of these buses will be taken off the streets. When you go up, you will see, well, you know because you created it – it’s quite a remarkable thing.
I also want to, for a moment, associate it with what else is going on in California in this moment. This moment, we are suffering from some terrible, terrible wildfires. The intensity and density of them is exacerbated by the climate crisis and what we are doing here is to alleviate some of that by removing our dependence on elements that would heat up the air. All we are doing on mass transit, high-speed rail – all of those subjects are about making the planet a more wholesome place – lowering the temperature, lowering the heat.
We are all connected when we engage in infrastructure that is truly green and this infrastructure the Salesforce Transbay Center is truly green. So for these and so many other reasons, I want to acknowledge all those who played a role in this. I want to acknowledge Maria [Ayerdi], she was here for all of those things, the groundbreakings, the pouring of cement, the Penrose awning, and here today for the ribbon cutting. Mark Zabaneh from TJPA [Transbay Joint Powers Authority], the executive director, thank you. Where is Mark? Thank you Mark for your leadership.
Yes, we are very proud to play a big role – ARRA was very helpful in that – it helps to have a President who appreciates what we were doing. It helps to be on the Appropriations Committee. It helps to be Speaker of the House to get the money.
It doesn’t work unless you have the matching initiative. The public paying their fair share, state and local commitments to it. This, today, is about community. Let us thank everyone in our community for the role they played in making this an initiative of such national significance. People will visit and want to do it where they live. And also see that there is more to come.
Thank you all very much.