THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Governor. Well, as one of the first in a very long time Californians to be associated with the White House and living in Los Angeles, I was acutely aware of what closure of the 10 would mean for so many people: hardworking people, families, many people who — when it was shut down, they can’t work from home — their work requires them to be present.
And so, I want to applaud the leadership of the governor, the mayor, the senator, and so many others. Caltrans — we had a chance to visit this morning the men and women there, the men and women of organized labor, the unions.
The work that happened here is extraordinary. And it really is a function of the will and the ambition of the workers on the ground who understood what closure of the 10 would mean for folks on a daily basis and their commitment as public servants, as union members to get this thing done.
And, you know, we can give the fancy speeches all day long, but we’re able to stand here and do this because they did this work on the ground — in many cases, working as many as 14 hours a day out of sheer commitment and a sense of duty and responsibility to deliver for the people of Los Angeles. So, it’s extraordinary work that happened here.
And yes — Governor, Madam Mayor, the senator — we all talked on a daily basis, practically, and the estimates were that this was going to take a long time. There were some who said that a three- to four-week estimation was ambitious. But these folks, these people who work every day on this — who are experts, who understand the specifics, who understand the detail — they didn’t listen to all that. They just did the work and they saw it through.
And on behalf of President Biden and myself and our administration, we applaud this work. And this is the kind of work, frankly, that is happening around the country — where hardworking men and women, carpenters, laborers, city workers, county workers, government workers are rebuilding America.
We have invested billions of dollars in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges, lead pipes removal, what we are doing to ensure that all families have access and can afford high-speed Internet — this is all about rebuilding America’s infrastructure. And it has been a commitment of ours from day one.
Many talked about doing it. You’ll remember “Infrastructure Week.” By the way, it never happened.
MAYOR BASS: (Laughs.) Every week.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: But what we have been able to accomplish is, for California alone, a $33 billion commitment to help build back up the infrastructure in our home state. We’re looking at already over 1,100 projects underway in California, because of the work and the commitment that Joe Biden and I and our administration have had to ensure that federal dollars come to states like California to do the work that must be done.
And so, I want to, again, applaud everybody.
And then, to all the Angelenos, I would just say this: Tomorrow, the commute is back on, and Happy Thanksgiving.
There’s so much to be thankful for. You know, there’s — we’re living in a world right now where there’s — it’s heavy and it’s — it’s hard. And when we can have these moments to applaud the commitment of people to folks that they may never meet — these workers, their commitment to the families and the individuals who need to pass this freeway every day — it’s a moment to give thanks for the folks who care and to remember that we’re all in this together.
So, thank you. And Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. (Applause.)