South Court Auditorium
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
11:30 A.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mitch. Good morning, everyone. I want to thank you all. There is so much about what the President signed into the law — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — just about a year ago that will be made real because of all of you.
As many of you know, the President and I both started our elected careers at the local level. And I also had — had statewide office. And the stuff we do here in D.C. will only mean something if it hits the streets of America. And that’s where our partnership becomes critical to seeing the plan through, because it is you, at a local level, at a state level, who make it real.
And there’s so much about what we accomplished that was dependent on the relationship we have — because it is you who helped inform our priorities. You gave us the information about what your constituents — about the people that you represent — what they need, what they want, what wasn’t working and what was working. And those details matter. Because as the President will tell you, we are very clear: The work that we do is not about a grand gesture or a press conference. It’s about it actually impacting the people of America.
So I am here to thank you. I’m here to thank you for what you did to help form and inform what we have accomplished. And I am here to thank you for the hard work, the elbow grease, that you are putting into making it real.
And I’ve been traveling the country, the President has been traveling the country, and we know what you are doing at a local level and a statewide level. And we hear the feedback about the importance of your work.
I was looking just quickly at some of my travel schedule. So, for example, I was in Charlotte, North Carolina, in December of last year. And I toured — there you are — Charlotte is in the house — (laughter) — and toured a transit facility. And I was so inspired by the work that’s happening there in terms of manufacturing, in terms of the innovation, in terms of the workforce development.
And — and what we’re seeing there — and I — it was with Governor Roy Cooper — is just innovation at work, jobs at work, union jobs around the country being inspired by this work, apprenticeship programs being resourced and growing because of this work.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin — I was there in January, and I met with workers who are removing lead pipes — right? — in Milwaukee. And we know that in the Infrastructure Bill, there’s $48 million that’s going to lead pipe removal. Well, that’s not only Wisconsin.
In — in Michigan, for example — I was just speaking with a group of folks from Michigan here yesterday — the lead pipe removal piece is extraordinary because it is the intersection, then — the infrastructure work hits the intersection between infrastructure, yes, but also public health and education.
Because if you think about something like lead pipes, it’s a public health issue. Children are drinking toxic water, which is having an impact on their health, but also their capacity to maximize their God-given brain potential because of the impact it has on their ability to learn.
So, there’s so much about the work that we are doing that, yes, it’s about roads and bridges. It’s about public transit. It’s about investing in innovation, such as electric vehicles, electric school buses. But it really does touch on so many of the facets of American life, including public health issues, including education issues, including productivity and economic productivity. Because, of course, if the American worker can’t get to where they need to go in an efficient way, that slows down our productivity.
So, therein lies the intersection between the work you are doing and so many aspects of life that may not come to mind when we think about infrastructure but are directly impacted.
So I’m here to thank you all. And we intend, with this law and the rollout of it, to engage leaders at every level — elected leaders, of course, at the local and statewide level, but community leaders, organizations.
This is also about empowering folks, because we know that when they are active in their level of participation, we all benefit.
So with that, I thank you all for what you have done to get us to this point. But no patting ourselves on the back yet. (Laughs.) This is just the next phase of, yes, great progress. It’s the next phase where we ensure that the benefits that we intend actually hit the streets of America.
And with that, I thank you all. Be well. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 11:36 A.M. EDT