VP, transportation chief talk up infrastructure plan in Charlotte
Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg discuss the impact of the Biden administration's infrastructure package as they tour a transit facility in Charlotte.
um I don't know who called this Carolina Blue Day, but I'm gonna take credit for it, but I'm really should be giving credit to the Vice President Kamala Harris who joins us here today. So thank you for being here. I want to say we should all give a great charlotte Mecklenburg, welcome to Vice President Harris and Secretary Buddha Jig, Let's give them a hand when they come out, let's cheer them on. All of us know that Charlotte is the 15th largest city, fastest growing in the country. And we are experiencing the need for infrastructure, The many things that we need to have in this community to make us a livable and great place to be, is around infrastructure and these are things that are going on in cities and other communities across the country. You know, to that infrastructure that we need is about affordable housing. It's about creating opportunities and jobs and a better environment in charlotte. We're doing the hard work and I want to recognize the members of the charlotte City council who stand here today because we are working on this, we are making a difference. Please stand. We've helped create thousands of new jobs in this community. We brought new opportunities to our region. Just yesterday we celebrated the official opening of Honeywell's new corporate headquarters in our center city Since 2018. We've built more than 4600 units of affordable housing. And with our cares funding, we quickly created community based programs to help our small businesses are nonprofits and our local industries to survive this pandemic with the support of President biden and the will that we have in this country we can build back better the bill back better act will continue our work here in charlotte. I want to thank Vice President Harris and Secretary Buddha Jig for joining us today to celebrate the passage of that legislation and now I'd like to introduce my friend and congresswoman Adam Alma Adams, who is also an important person in this process. She's a tireless and fierce leader and helping us get build back better pass Congresswoman Alma Adams. U. S. Representative on my abs Okay, good morning charlotte. Welcome. I'm Congresswoman Alma Adams and I'm proud to represent the city of charlotte and Mecklenburg County in the U. S. Congress and I'm absolutely honored to welcome my sister, my sorrow, my fellow HbCU graduate, Vice President Kamala Harris to charlotte north Carolina and I'm proud to be joined by my state and city partners Mayor louse governor cooper as well. Additionally, I'm happy that we're joined today by Secretary Pete loaded Jack. We're going to need your help to make mecklenburg continue to be on the move and that's the reason that we're here today, mobility not only are mobility network, but also social and economic mobility and as we've been talking about it for some time now. I was shocked when the Chetty study showed that charlotte came and did last 50th out of 50 and economic mobility. A good transportation and connections to opportunity can help move people not only two jobs and to church and to the doctor but also into the middle class and that's why the biden Harris administration's Infrastructure Investment jobs Act. It's so very important. The funding in this law will keep charlotte and Mecklenburg moving North Carolina will receive approximately $900 million Investment Jobs Act to improve public transportation options across the state. That's money that we can use to build projects like the silver line light rail, There are billions of dollars for highway instructions. So highways like I-77 And I-85 will be well lit and well paid For the purchasing of a new Terminal zero emission busses and it will make sure that our entire county isn't under a boil water advisory because of an aging water main burst. And that's why I was so very proud to vote for this bill to help charlotte and Mecklenburg county build back better. You know, there's an old saying in communities that when communities can only grow great when old men and old women plant trees under which they know they will never sit so with the infrastructure investment and the jobs that the leadership of president biden and Vice President Harris and Secretary buddha check, we're going to not only create great jobs and a great transportation system. We're also growing a great community were social and economic mobility. Our core values, Thank you all for being here today. Thank you for all that you do to contribute to the well being of our great city. God bless. Please welcome north Carolina. Governor Roy cooper. Yeah, yeah. What a great day. Thank you. Congresswoman Adams, Mayor Lyles, very grateful for your strong leadership. I know we have Transportation Secretary, eric Boyette and Department of Public Safety Secretary Eddie Buffalo and a number of state legislators and local government leaders were glad to have you here. We welcome Vice President Harris and Transportation Secretary Buddhists to the greatest state in the country. North Carolina. Finally, we can celebrate the long promised infrastructure bill At the beginning of the last administration in 2017 we were told it was coming, it never did until now and it's stronger and smarter than we ever thought that it could be because this president at this vice president and this transportation secretary know how to work in a bipartisan way with Congress to get things done. The states across the country including north Carolina will get a big, big boost. It will help us fix our roads and our bridges, improve rail and other public transportation. So we more easily get people from one place to the next. And that's not all even more help with high speed internet access. So we connect all north Carolinians to learning to telehealth and the small business opportunities will do even more to help with infrastructure resilience To build back better and smarter and stronger from the 42. Yes 42 extreme weather events that North Carolina has experienced over the last decade. And there will be even more help with clean energy transportation you've already seen today that north Carolina is on the cutting edge of technology with our electric busses, more electric vehicles and an increasing number of charging stations. And you couple this with the carbon reduction with our new law that requires a 70% reduction in power generation by 2030 And carbon neutrality and power generation by 2050. Those together make sure that north Carolina is well on its way to doing its part. Not only to fight climate change in a meaningful way but to create the tens of thousands of jobs that we know the clean energy economy can bring and just like okay. And just like I and other legislators and governmental official use officials are doing here in north Carolina. President biden and Vice President Harris understand the hard work of building consensus and finding common ground to get the job done for the people building bridges and roads pushing clean technology, expanding high speed internet. North Carolina is ready to get to work. Thank you very much. Mhm. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Uh huh. Because they couldn't make it. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. Please welcome U. S. Secretary of transportation pete Buttigieg measure. Yeah. Good morning. Still mourning. Right. Yeah. Still mourning by about five minutes. What a pleasure to be here in charlotte and was an honor to be joined by the distinguished company that's here, particularly honored to be joining the vice president to be with governor cooper, whose visionary leadership I have admired for a long time. Representative Adams who has encouraged me for some time to come to this district and I'm so glad that we're here. Mayor Lyles, who I first got to know in the community of mayors and who is doing a terrific job in charlotte ceo john Lewis who graciously gave us such an informative tour and so many other leaders and people who care about infrastructure in this region and in our country. 134 years ago Charlotte unveiled its first ever public transit system. It was three horse drawn streetcars, each carrying 12 passengers. And that modest beginning actually represented the outset of a transportation revolution because it meant that suddenly people didn't necessarily have to live within walking distance of their jobs. Soon, new homes, new businesses and entire neighborhoods sprung up along those trolley routes. So, leaders in charlotte knew then what we know now that public transit makes life better for people by increasing access to opportunity. This is a city that has a great track record of partnering with the federal government to invest in transit. Of course, my predecessor secretary, Anthony Foxx, someone people here remember of course, is Mayor Fox was a model for that approach and helped bring so many transformative projects to life. The facility that we're at today and the electric bus pilot are products of local and federal investment investing to make it more convenient and quicker and easier to get around by transit pays dividends. It pays off for people who don't own a car or don't want to have to deal with parking and was filling up, Having access to transit means you have better ways to get to jobs and opportunities while saving money and for those who do drive a car, doing so in a city with good transit, of course means less traffic unless congestion when you drive for every child who breathes air in this city, transit reduces the pollution that can cause asthma and other health problems for small businesses. It brings new customers and lets you recruit employees who live further away and for those communities and there are many that have been disconnected or divided by transportation decisions. In the past, transit holds out the promise of better connecting people to jobs, schools, opportunity and each other. About two weeks ago, we were delighted to award this city a $15 million Charlotte Transit Hub Uptown. It's going to make it easier for people to connect between bus routes uh, and the Lynx Blue line and gold line and a new bicycle and pedestrian trail so that more people can easily and safely get to where they need to go across charlotte. Now that grant was part of an extremely competitive process. In fact, we got about $10 billion $1 billion dollars in funding. But now, thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law that President biden signed last month, we will have the resources to support far more worthy projects like these here in north Carolina and across the country. This bill is going to make the biggest investment in fact, in public transit in history. It'll modernize roads and bridges, passenger rail and freight rail ports and airports will get more electric busses like the ones we saw today onto the road more quickly and more electric vehicles helping to reduce carbon emissions. And maybe the best part is going to create a lot of good paying jobs for people building and maintaining our new infrastructure and for the people whose business relies on goods moving from factories to shelves. So generations go cities like charlotte moved past horse drawn transit in part because they were thinking about safety, pollution and efficiency. Today, we're beginning another new chapter in our transit history to make it safer, cleaner and more accessible than ever. That's my honor to be here today with somebody who did so much to make this infrastructure law possible. And that's Vice President Harris, The Vice president traveled this country, speaking to people about what an investment in jobs and infrastructure could mean for their communities. She spent countless hours helping the president negotiate with members of Congress. She worked to make sure that clean school busses, clean water and environmental justice were included, all of which are issues that she championed in the Senate as well. I remember one meeting in particular early in the negotiations as the president was gathering people from both sides of the aisle in the oval office to discuss where the space for a deal might be. There was a lot of listening and the members had a lot to say. I was trying to offer some technical input and data from our department and in that conversation, at just the right moment, the Vice president spoke and her message was about the need to think big not to get lost in the details of the politics, but to remember the unique nature of the opportunity in front of us and she was exactly right. And it helped shape the conversation. It's just one very small example of the countless ways in which her presence has made an impact on this monumental legislation. So now more people in charlotte across the country will ride electric busses travel on safer roads and have a chance to work building infrastructure that will support our economy for generations. We're going to hear from Vice President Harris in a moment before that you're going to get to know somebody that we just got to know on the tour Shonda right, a railcar maintenance technician here in charlotte and I'll say transportation workers like Shonda have been so indispensable to keeping us moving during the pandemic. They don't get the option of coming to work by zoom. They have been there for us every single day and both the workers who are driving our transportation systems literally and the workers who count on them in order to get to where they need to be. That's who this legislation is really about. So again, thank you for the opportunity to be here. We are very excited in the Department of Transportation to work with charlotte and communities across the country on the opportunities ahead. Thanks very much. Yeah. Okay, please welcome charlotte area transit system. Rail operations training supervisor, Shonda. Right. Mhm. Okay. Yeah. Good afternoon. My name is Shonda right. I'm a dedicated public servant, essential worker and operations training supervisor here. Cats. I've been in Charlotte for 23 years now. We have a beautiful city and a city that is planning for the future. And even as it's grown over these 23 years, we still maintain that close knit community. It's no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our world, our country and the industry, transit industry profoundly. Like many fellow transit workers, I've speculated what the future would hold. Do I need to worry about my job. Will I be able to provide for myself here at Katz. We've been fortunate the arrival of federal resources throughout the pandemic have not only protected the livelihoods. He had swift and bold actions, but this administration has helped the excuse me has helped to broker the historic bipartisan and instruction, the bipartisan infrastructure deal. This deal not only ensures a bright future for the transit injury industry but for transit workers across our nation, but what does this transportation investment means for us here at cats. It allows us to fulfill the promise to deliver a world class bus, rail and transit network that works for all community members. Now, please join me in welcoming the Vice president, Kamala Harris. Mhm Oh hello everyone. Thank you. Thank you. Please have a seat. Please have a seat. It is wonderful to be back in north Carolina. Um, Tiana. I want to thank you for your skill, for your knowledge, for showing us around today and just increasing our enthusiasm and excitement for what's happening here in this state and around the country. Um, both because of the skilled workers who actually make it all come together, but also because of the innovation that we are seeing every day. And certainly here at this facility. I want to thank Secretary Pete Buddha Jet. Where are you there you are for joining me today and for serving our nation as the secretary of our Department of Transportation. You've been doing extraordinary work and thank you for that. Also traveling with me today is Congresswoman Alma Adams and I want to thank you congresswoman. Um I will say to your home state that I see the congresswoman in the halls of Congress in the White House. She is always fighting for the people of her district and the people of north Carolina, whether the cameras are on or the cameras are off, So thank you for your leadership, thank you. And of course governor, it is always good to be with you. It is always good to be with you and Mayor, thank you for hosting us. So this is a day that we are celebrating as we will continue to do the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and north Carolina, you know, well, leaders like congresswoman Adams like governor Roy cooper like mayor via liles, like all of the state and local elected officials who are here today, leaders like Senator Richard burr and Senator Thom Tillis all made it possible for me and the president to turn the bipartisan infrastructure deal into the bipartisan infrastructure law because of their work because of our work together, America is moving again because ultimately, that's what infrastructure is all about getting people moving, you know, the way I see it, infrastructure gives people what they need to get where they need to go. That's my definition of infrastructure, help the people get where they need to go and so think about the busses that are around us, the bus that's behind me. People rely on public transportation for all kinds of reasons to get groceries to get to school on time to get to work on time to get to church on time for millions of americans. Public transportation is part of their day every day and a bus stop within walking distance can make all the difference versus a bus stop, you have to walk for half an hour to get to and we all know what it means for someone to miss a bus by just one minute and that it can mean being at least an hour late for work. All of these are issues that we will address by paying attention to. The need to put resources into our public transit systems and we all know, but it time in transit time that they could be spending with their friends and family, helping their Children do their homework time. They could spend running essential errands or even relaxing after a hard day work and there is a major repair backlog in our nation, 24,000 busses, 5000 rail cars, 200 stations that are in need of work, thousands of miles of tracks, signals and power systems in our country need to be repaired. We need to get fixing all of these things, We need to get this fixed and done. So north Carolina Public transit is a good public good and that is why we are investing in it with our bipartisan infrastructure long. We will make the largest ever investment in public transit in our nation's history. North Carolina alone will receive $910 million dollars for public transit over the next five years. And Governor cooper, I want to thank you for always being such a very strong and powerful advocate for the needs of this state and for here in charlotte Mayor, well, you are doing extraordinary work upgrading your bus system with more connections, more frequent service and more electric busses. And I know that the funding that we are delivering will help with all of that important and good work. And here's the bottom line. World class cities like charlotte deserve world class transit systems. And this law is going to help you build those systems on top of public transit. Our bipartisan infrastructure law will also make the most Significant investment to fix our roads and bridges in 70 years. And I don't need to tell this group of leaders That across North Carolina there are more than 3000 miles of highway that need to be repaired, Highways like I-85 look at all the people nodding. In addition, our bipartisan infrastructure law will modernize airports and our airports, among other things. Think about what that will mean not only for the passengers who need to get where they need to go, but also it will help reduce the supply chain bottlenecks that families are experiencing right now. We will also with this law replace lead pipes so that every american Qinglin have clean drinking water so that our babies are not drinking toxic water, which in many cases will have irreparable damage to their ability to learn with this work. We have done together, we will expand broadband in rural and urban areas which I know and again the governor and I have talked about this is a big issue for the people of this state and why do we do this? We do this work so that every american can have affordable and accessible high speed internet connections to do the work that we know. Certainly during the course of the pandemic became so necessary whether it is allowing our Children to have access to the internet to get their homework done, you know long gone, I will speak to certain generation of people that includes myself. Long gone is excited encyclopedia Britannica, they need to have access to the internet to be able to excel and reach their God given capacity. Let's think about access to high speed internet for our small businesses and how that helps and is a necessity for them to be able to do their important work. Let's think about high speed internet and access for the purposes of telemedicine so that folks in rural communities can have access to the kind of care that they deserve and need. In addition to all of that. And importantly this law will put millions more americans to work in good paying jobs and good paying union jobs jobs like a fellow I met by the name of Jeff bird has so Jeff Bird is a line design technician that I met with in new Hampshire his skill and his important work is to attach fiber to utility poles to keep up with the demand for high speed internet jobs like walter Cody has so walter. I met with him, he's a construction inspector. And what he does is he works to get clean water to families in California jobs like Leslie Kilgore has. So Leslie is an engineer I met with in high point north Carolina whose team is building electric school busses in creating jobs in investing in what people need to get where they are going. Our bipartisan infrastructure law will make our country more competitive. It will make our communities more prosperous and it will deliver on our administration's commitment to equity and as significant as it is as historic as it is. Our bipartisan infrastructure law is part one of 2, Part two of 2 is our build back better act the president and I know that families are stretched and and we take that very seriously and we have designed the build back better act to build to help address the reality of the needs of everyday folks who just need a little support has take for instance, the issue of prescription drug costs. It is simply not right that seniors are going into debt to pay for their medication. It is not right that because they can't afford, they're prescription, they cut pills to try and extend it. And in so doing expose themselves to greater illness. It's just not right. So our bill back at build back better at will bring down prescription drug costs. It's just not right that parents are being forced to quit their jobs to care for a member of their family. And so I'll build back better act will bring down both childcare costs and elder care costs. I can't tell you the number of families and individuals I have met with around our country are in what we call the sandwich generation individuals who are raising their young Children while they are also giving care to their elder relatives. And what that means in terms of how they must divide up the responsibilities of their day, requiring two different sets of skills, probably with the exception of food preparation, two sets of skills that are required to balance those obligations. We should be helping people. And so it's not right that families have to choose to either buy groceries or pay for health care to either fill up their tank or pay their rent. And so our build back better act will bring down health care and housing costs. Also, what we are doing with build back better is saying we need to meet the needs of working families and we must address the current and immediate needs while not neglecting the needs that are quickly becoming a crisis for us. And that brings me to the issue of the climate crisis and the need we also have at this very moment to address it directly. The climate crisis is an existential threat and it demands our immediate action. So we build back better, we will make an historic investment to help families weatherize their home businesses, to produce clean energy and our nation to reduce emissions. The climate crisis is not slowing down and neither can we, the House passed our build back better act just before the holiday before thanksgiving and the President and I are confident that the Senate will do the same very soon. This Yes. And it bears noting This bill is fully paid for and will not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year. And we are determined to get it passed and bring down costs for you and the people of our nation. So I'll conclude with this in many ways, our bipartisan infrastructure law and our build back better act embody our character as a nation. They demonstrate when you think about the details of it, they demonstrate exactly who we are because we are believers through and through. We see what can be unburdened by what has been and we have faith, we have faith in what is possible and what can be, and we have determination, the determination it takes to bring a better future to bear. So as we move forward, let us believe in our people and invest in our people and always let us believe in what we can do when we stand together. Thank you all very much. God bless you and may God bless America. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Mhm. Oh that stinks. Yeah. Mhm. Mhm. I would. Okay. Mhm.