Nov 16, 2021
Joe Biden Infrastructure Speech Transcript Woodstock, NH November 16
President Joe Biden gave a speech on his infrastructure agenda on November 16, 2021 in Woodstock, NH. Read the transcript of the speech remarks here.
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President Joe Biden: (00:49)
[crosstalk 00:00:49] Thank you. Magnific stage. Beautiful. Good. [inaudible 00:01:06] too. I can see that.
Victoria Sheehan: (01:12)
Well, good afternoon, everyone. My name is Victoria Sheehan and I’m the Commissioner of New Hampshire Department of Transportation, and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the town of Woodstock and thank you all for being here. Yesterday, President Biden signed into law the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure investment in jobs act. And now today, the president is here in New Hampshire to discuss how the passage of the bill will impact the granite state. Joining me are United States Senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, as well as Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas.
Victoria Sheehan: (01:57)
This landmark piece of legislation represents a substantial investment in infrastructure, increases the investment in transportation significantly. The bill provides a 24% increase in funding for each of the core federal highway programs. In addition, over the five year period, New Hampshire receive another $225 million specifically for bridge infrastructure, dollars which are much needed to address declining condition. The bill also creates a new electric vehicle charging infrastructure program, and it’s expected that New Hampshire will receive approximately $17 million for issues. For New Hampshire airports, we anticipate an additional $45.6 million, and for public transportation, New Hampshire will receive approximately $130 million, which is 30% increase from prior funding levels.
Victoria Sheehan: (02:50)
So with the bill now signed into law, my team will work with the New Hampshire executive council, Governor Chris Sununu, and the legislature to make sure we put these dollars to good use. The investment is sizable and much needed, and we at the New Hampshire Department of Transportation are eager to get to work advancing projects such as the rehabilitation of the bridge we’re standing on today. So it’s my distinct honor and privilege to introduce the President of the United States. So please join me in welcoming President Joe Biden to New Hampshire and to Woodstock.
President Joe Biden: (03:21)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
President Joe Biden: (03:30)
Before I officially start, Billy, you have something you have to give your wife. I got to remind you. Okay? Okay. You got it? Okay. You got it. All right.
President Joe Biden: (03:38)
Folks, it’s a great honor to be here. It really is. Commissioner, thank you for that introduction. And it’s great to be with members of Congress here. Maggie Hassan, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Representative Annie Kuster, as well as Chris Pappas. And let me tell you, the infrastructure law signed yesterday, and this is not hyperbole, would not have been possible without this delegation. That’s a fact. No, I’m… Maggie. You did one hell of a job because folks, you should know that Maggie was a key player in every aspect of this law. She led by getting bipartisan support. She made the case for making sure the law delivers high speed internet everywhere in New Hampshire, which as you know, from the pandemic is badly needed. And that protect New Hampshire coastline from rising sea levels and extreme storms. And she was always making sure New Hampshire roads and bridges like the one we’re standing on today are safe, and this one is not. And so thank you, Maggie.
President Joe Biden: (04:45)
And Jeanne, I won’t surprise anyone here that you were the key member of this bipartisan group of senators that negotiated the infrastructure deal. Your calm, common sense as usual always leads the way. And I mean that sincerely. The fact is that you need that being married to Billy, be calm, common sense. I shouldn’t be so familiar, but anyway, Billy’s a friend.
President Joe Biden: (05:12)
But making sure New Hampshire water is safe to drink, upgrading pipes that are 100 years old and helping eliminate PFOS chemicals from the waterway. You always made the case at developing a workforce and jobs that were going to create. It is an issue that many small businesses here in New Hampshire focus on. And I might add parenthetically, one of the things that’s going to happen, we have another bill that’s coming along here that has money for education in it. And it has money for education to provide for money that’s directly for community colleges and for apprentice programs and Pell Grants to allow people the colleges to train for what is needed in the workforce, to train for what is needed in the workforce, including major apprentice programs, a deal so you can hire New Hampshire folks to do this work.
President Joe Biden: (06:02)
And folks, Annie Kuster’s an old friend and many times, how many times do we talk about New Hampshire’s parents during the pandemic who are worried about not having high speed internet at their home, children learning remotely, especially here in rural New Hampshire. And every time this issue came up, you were there reminding us of making the case as she did in every element of the bill.
President Joe Biden: (06:30)
And Chris, he was a key member of the committee that got this bill across the finish line, because the truth of the matter is, getting big ideas and actual a bill is hard work and technical data is required. It requires getting into the nitty gritty and details without losing the big picture. And that’s exactly what you did, Chris. He always remembered the big picture and always making economic case of the investments and how they’re going to matter to real people across the country, but particularly here in New Hampshire. And how clean water, access to the internet, rebuilding bridges and everything in this bill matters to individual lives of real people. This is not something abstract.
President Joe Biden: (07:10)
Folks, it’s not hyperbole to say that your delegation is laser focused on your needs, the people of New Hampshire, the concerns that are discussed around our kitchen tables. This isn’t esoteric. This isn’t some gigantic bill. It is, but it’s about what happens to ordinary people. Conversations around those kitchen tables that are both profound as they are ordinary. How do I cross the bridge in the snowstorm? What happened?
President Joe Biden: (07:40)
No, think about it. You’re in a situation. What happens when the bridge collapses and there’s a fire on the other side? It’s going to take 10 miles longer to get to the fire. People could die. I mean, this is real. This is real stuff. What does it mean if a school bus or water treatment trucks or logging trucks can’t cross? It means jobs. It means time. It means energy. More broadly, how do we emerge in this pandemic, not just with a little breathing room, but a real fighting chance to get ahead? Those are the things that take place at the kitchen tables where I grew up and where all of you were, where everybody’s living. And Maggie, Jeanne, Annie and Chris and me, we all ran for office to help answer those questions, the questions at the kitchen table.
President Joe Biden: (08:22)
I used to get kidded because I spent so much time commuting every day between Wilmington, Delaware, after my wife and daughter were killed, back to Washington every single day, 260 miles a day. I’d ride home and I’d look out the window, this is the God’s truth, just outside of Washington. And I’d go through stretch of residential neighborhood and I could see the lights on in the kitchens and in the dining room. And I’d wonder, “What are they talking about? What are they thinking about?” Because that’s why I ran. That’s why these folks ran. It’s about building, they’re taking care of their legitimate needs, and to make sure democracy delivers for everybody.
President Joe Biden: (09:01)
We promised that we couldn’t just build back what we had before. We had to build back better. And that’s an environmental requirement. A highway gets washed out, you can’t build it back to what it was before, which to be the measure. You have to build a couple feet higher because even if we gain control of the climate, it’s not going to go back to what it was before. It’s not going to be that way.
President Joe Biden: (09:25)
And despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans, we can work together. We can deliver real results. We can deliver real people results that are going to affect their lives. And we’re taking a monumental step forward and building back better for this nation.
President Joe Biden: (09:44)
My message to the people in New Hampshire is simple. It’s this, because of this delegation, New Hampshire and America are moving again. Your life is going to change for the better. And that’s literal. For example, the [inaudible 00:09:58] bridge here I just walked across, opened in 1939, 82 years ago. This may not seem like a big bridge, but it saves lives and solves problems. Let me tell you why. Businesses depend on it, like the local propane company or the and gravel company or the logging trucks. Public services depend on it. School buses, wastewater trucks cross it every day.
President Joe Biden: (10:23)
It’s essential to Woodstock fire station about a quarter of a mile away. Without this bridge, as I said earlier, it’s a 10 mile detour just to get to the other side. And I know haven’t had a house burned down with my wife in it. She got safely, God willing, but having a significant portion of it burned, I can tell 10 minutes makes a hell of a difference. It makes a big difference. Folks, every mile counts, every minute counts in an emergency. And folks, this is a bridge that has been structurally deficient for years. I’m preaching to the choir, I know, but the fact is it used to be able to carry 40 ton trucks. Now the bridge is down to 20 ton restrictions. In a couple weeks, it’s going to be closed to put steel plates down and over the weekend for sections of this deck. That steel plate is basically like putting a bandaid on a major wound. This is going to make it bumpy for drivers, difficult for snow plows, and it’s still dangerous for bikers. And when that’s done, the bridge may need even more weight restrictions.
President Joe Biden: (11:27)
The state has already spent a quarter of a million dollars in band-aid repairs on this bridge alone. And right now there are 215 bridges in your state, 215 bridges deemed structurally unsafe in New Hampshire alone. Many of them are less trafficked bridges. They’re often overlooked when decisions are being made about where and how to invest and rebuild. But these bridges are essential in small towns, rural areas, farmers, and small businesses, like in my state of Delaware. You have about 700 miles of highway in New Hampshire that is listed in poor condition. Driving on these roads that need repair costs New Hampshire drivers an estimated extra $476 every year per person driving in gas and repairs and longer commute times. That’s $476 in hidden tax on New Hampshire drivers as a result of deteriorating infrastructure.
President Joe Biden: (12:26)
But thanks to the infrastructure law, we’re going to make the most significant investment to modernize our roads and our bridges in 70 years. Law is going to speed up replacement of bridges by at least a year and allow New Hampshire to invest in other critical infrastructure needs. Thanks to the congressional delegation, this law also represents the most significant investment in passenger rail in 50 years in public transit ever. Here in New Hampshire, that means replacing about one third of the transit vehicles, buses and the like, that are past their useful life. And what it means, you’ll be safer to get to where you’re going faster and you’ll save money. And this means jobs, jobs for folks making these upgrades. It’s estimated it’ll create up to two million jobs a year and up to 16 million jobs nationwide, good paying jobs, union jobs, jobs you can raise a family on, jobs that can’t be outsourced.
President Joe Biden: (13:24)
And that’s not all. The bipartisan bill is going to mobilize our ports and our airports and freight rail to make it easier for companies to get goods to market, reduce supply chain bottom like we’re experiencing now. I just had to convince the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles where 40% of all products come into the Western United States to stay open seven days a week, 24 hours a day because they’re backing up ships and container vessels for miles and miles and miles, hundreds of them. And that’s the reason why you don’t have things on the shelves. Why? Because people are dying of COVID in the Western part of the Pacific making the products that we’re in fact buying here in the United States of America, or the products that go into the products we buy.
President Joe Biden: (14:11)
Folks, we’re going to lower cost for you and your families. This congressional delegation, we’re going to start by replacing 100% of the lead water pipes and service lines in the United States and address PFOS as a dangerous forever chemical that is a threat to drinking water here in New Hampshire. Every American, every child should be able to turn on the faucet and drink clean water, which will also create thousands of good paying job for plumbers and pipe fitters replacing these pipes.
President Joe Biden: (14:42)
In Every meeting about this law, this delegation made clear that high speed internet is as essential as clean water and electricity. I don’t know how many times y’all told me that, but I think I already knew it, but you didn’t let me forget it. And now, not just in New Hampshire for New Hampshire families, but New Hampshire businesses as well. Today one in every 10 New Hampshire households doesn’t have internet subscriptions. And a lot of places, there’s no broadband infrastructure at all. And the law is going to make high speed internet affordable and available everywhere in New Hampshire, urban, suburban, rural. It’s going to create jobs laying down those broadband lines. In the 21st century America, no parent, no parents should ever sit in a parking lot of a fast food restaurant to connect to the internet so that kids can do their homework or they can get their job assignment. Really, think about it.
President Joe Biden: (15:35)
This law also builds on our resilience to extreme weather. Southwestern New Hampshire, there have been 200 year storms in recent years. Hurricane Irene hit New Hampshire really hard, and you all know that every winter power will go out from ice storms. Well, from 2010 to 2020, extreme weather events cost New Hampshire $500 million in damages. Nationwide, extreme weather events cost this year, this year $99 billion in damages. I can tell you because I flew over almost all of it. More fires in the west burned to the ground homes, businesses and forest than the entire state of New Jersey from Cape May to New York city. This is the United States of America for God’s sake. And why is it happening? Well, the severe storms that are knocking down all the wires… Anyways, there’s a lot going on. This law builds back bridges, our water systems, our power lines, our grids, and for better and stronger resilience. So fewer Americans are going to be flooded out of their homes, lose power for days and weeks after storms hit.
President Joe Biden: (16:47)
Look, there’s much more to this law, but most of all, this law does something else that’s truly historic. Maggie, Jeanne, Annie, Chris, we understand that it is time to rebuild the backbone of this nation. It’s the reason why I ran. I left politics. I had no intention of running again until I really got upset when I saw those folks coming out of that field down in Virginia, carrying swastikas and torches and white supremacists. But you know what else that really angered me? Take a look at what’s happened over the last 20 years. The backbone of this nation has been hollowed out. Hard working middle class folks. If I hear one more person tell me how Wall Street built America, I think I’m going to… Anyway.
President Joe Biden: (17:35)
But seriously, the middle class built, built, built this country and they’ve been left out. Trickle down economics does not work. To rebuild the economy from the bottom up and the middle out is what I wanted to do. Of the listed billionaires in America, you know how much money they made in the last four years? $1 trillion. I’m a capitalist. You want to be a billionaire and a millionaire? That’s great. Good for you. But pay your fair share. 550 corporations in the Fortune 500. Guess what? I misspoke. 55 corporations of the Fortune 500 made $40 billion last year. Did not pay one single penny in taxes. Who pays it? Y’all pay it, as they say in Southern [inaudible 00:18:31 . Y’all do. For real. Think about it. And so that’s why this bill is paid for.
President Joe Biden: (18:40)
Look, it’s a long over due promise. It creates better jobs for millions of Americans. And I’m going to be clear, especially here in New Hampshire. No one earning in America less than $400,000 will pay a single solitary extra penny in federal taxes. I wouldn’t even let the bipartisan commission include gas tax in this bill, because that would mean people, working folks would be paying more money. Look, this law is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America. It leaves nobody behind.
President Joe Biden: (19:15)
Now our focus moves on to implementing this infrastructure law, and it was some speed and discipline. I asked the former mayor of New Orleans and former Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, Mitch Landrieu. Where are you, Mitch? Right there. By the way, Mitch loves the cold and snow. Mitch is going to do what I had responsibility to do with the Recovery Act. I was asked by the president to make sure the $900 billion that was being spent was in fact used well. Well, guess what? We spent all that money. We rebuilt a whole awful lot of things. And less than one tenth of 1% waste or fraud. That’s going to be Mitch’s job, making sure that everything gets out and it goes where it’s supposed to go.
President Joe Biden: (19:59)
Look, we’re at an inflection point in American history. This law meets that point. For most of the 20th century, we led the world by significant margin because we invested in ourselves. But somewhere along the way, we stopped investing in ourselves. We’ve risked losing our edge as a nation and China and the rest of the world are catching up, in some cases, passing us. Our infrastructure used to be rated the best in the world. Nos this is not a joke, the best in the world. According to the World Economic Forum, we now rank 13th in the world in terms of infrastructure. Well, we’re about to turn things around in a big way. For example, because of this law, next year will be the first year in 20 years that American infrastructure investment will grow faster than China’s for example. And we’ll once again have the best roads, bridges, ports, and airports, and we’ve building it again and we move it again.
President Joe Biden: (20:55)
Folks, when you see these projects start in your hometowns, I want you to fuel what I feel. Pride. Pride in what we can do together as the United States of America. I think the same goes if you’re… I don’t want to get into detail because you’re going to be freezing, but my plan to build back better for our people, getting folks back to work and reducing the cost of things like childcare, elder care, housing, healthcare, prescription drugs. 14 Nobel laureates in economics said it’ll actually bring down the cost, it will reduce the deficit and it will be totally paid for, and it’s going to reduce inflation and to meet the moment of climate change as well. The leadership of this delegation, I’m confident that the House is going to pass this bill. And when it passes, it’ll go to the Senate. I think we’ll get it passed within a week. And it’s fully paid. It’ll reduce the deficit over the long term, as I said. And again, no one making less than 400 grand will pay a single penny more in federal taxes.
President Joe Biden: (22:01)
Let me close with this. Throughout our history. We’ve emerged from crisis by investing in ourselves. During the Civil war, we built the transcontinental railroad, uniting and connecting the East and West coast, uniting America. During the Cold War, we built the interstate highway system, transforming how Americans live, where they’re able to live. And now as we work to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, we will build an economy of the 21st century. It matters.
President Joe Biden: (22:31)
Last night, I had an important virtual meeting for three and a half hours with the President of China, Xi Jinping. Years ago when I was Vice President, he asked me when we were near the Tibetan Plateau, he asked me if I met with him more than any other world leader has. And he asked me if I could define America for him. This is a God true story. And I looked at him and I said, yes, I can. In one word, possibilities. Think about it. Of all the nations in the world, we’re the only one, the only nation I can think of that has come out of crisis stronger than we went into it.
President Joe Biden: (23:10)
In America, we’ve always believed anything is possible. Anything is possible. We’ve got to reestablish that spirit. We’ve got to reestablish that sense of who we are. There’s no limit to what our people can do. There’s no limit to what our nation can do. If you think about this thing, it’s never been a good bet to bet against America. Every world leader I meet with, and he starts on me, I said it’s never been a good bet. Never. Give Americans half a chance, ordinary Americans half a chance. They have never ever, ever, ever let their country down. Not once.
President Joe Biden: (23:45)
Because of Maggie and Jeanne and Annie and Chris, this new law gives our people a real chance. It gives us a real chance. It gives everybody a chance. And that’s why I truly believe that 50 years from now, when historians write about this moment, I think they’re going to talk about this was the beginning of the time where America recaptured the competition of the 21st century. We reasserted ourselves. That’s exactly what we’re going to do, what we can do, what we will do, I promise you. God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Thank you for your time. Thank you.