April 18, New York City - US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer and President of the Rockefeller Foundation Judith Rodin all addressed the deteriorating infrastructure in our nation and called for Washington to establish a vision to renew and rebuild America at Regional Plan Association's Regional Assembly, titled "Oil and Water". Held at the Waldorf=Astoria in Midtown Manhattan, over 700 civic, business, and government leaders filled the room to hear Blumenauer, Rodin, Pelosi and other national and regional leaders address the scarcity of oil and water resources. Blumenauer and Rodin both focused on the nation's over-reliance on fossil fuels and the need for incorporating renewable sources of energy to fuel our cars and buildings. Blumenauer applauded the America 2050 initiative for thinking in bold terms about the future of our nation and suggested that meetings such as this one should be held in every congressional district. Rodin, who chaired the Assembly, recommended that federal policies urge coordination of state and local land-use plans with transportation policy. She underscored the importance of federal transportation policy to meet the challenges of climate change, competitiveness and social equity. To the last point, she added that after all, the Civil Rights movement began with "one very brave woman on a city bus; Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, who dubbed herself the "Sewer Mayor," shared her experience of rebuilding the deteriorating water infrastructure in the City of Atlanta and highlighted the importance of partnering with the federal government to address Atlanta's water infrastructure crisis.
Nancy Pelosi received a standing ovation as she approached the stage for her keynote address. She called for a national commitment to infrastructure toward the goal of "renewing and rebuilding America." The Speaker mentioned that we must continue the tradition of so-called "disturbers" - leaders such as Secretary of Treasury Albert Gallatin under Thomas Jefferson, head of Forest Service Gifford Pinchot under President Theodore Roosevelt - who recognized the need to develop long term plans that shaped the nation's growth. To implement these long term visions, a "drumbeat" is needed calling for the need to renew and rebuild America's infrastructure.For transcripts and videos of the Regional Assembly, please click here.
Pictures: Steve Ladner