House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, visiting the George Bush Boulevard bridge in Delray Beach on March 19, told residents and reporters that about $19 billion has been set aside for infrastructure work in Florida as part of a bill Congress passed in late 2021. Some of the dozens of officials who joined Pelosi were (l-r) Palm Beach County Vice Mayor Gregg Weiss, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, Delray Mayor Shelly Petrolia and Palm Beach County Mayor Robert Weinroth. Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star
By Rich Pollack
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one of the most recognizable women in the country, stood in front of the broken George Bush Boulevard bridge in Delray Beach on March 19 and talked about the community, commerce and the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Congress passed in November.
She also took a poke at the majority of Republicans who voted against the bill.
In South Florida for a series of fundraising events, Pelosi talked about the positive impact the legislation will have on Florida and Palm Beach County. She pointed out that the state will receive $19 billion as a result of the legislation, with $245 million going toward bridges over the next five years.
Some of that money could be used to repair or replace the George Bush Boulevard bridge, which has been stuck in the upright position since March 3 and could remain that way for another six weeks or longer before repairs are carried out.
Surrounded by members of the Palm Beach County congressional delegation, including Rep. Lois Frankel and recently elected Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick — as well as county and city elected officials — during a news conference, Pelosi talked about the importance of bridges as connectors in a community.
“When this connection comes down, it affects so many people,” she said.
The disrepair of the Delray Beach bridge, which opened in late 1949, has an impact on businesses, she said, as well as coastal residents and others who use it on a regular basis.
Pelosi said the benefits of the infrastructure bill would be felt by people throughout the nation, including Palm Beach County.
“This legislation is very important to sustainability of communities,” she said. “It’s about safety, it’s about commerce, it’s about health, saving of time and quality of life.”
While her comments were largely focused on infrastructure, politics came into play as Pelosi answered questions and referred to the all but 13 Republican members of Congress who voted against the legislation as those who “just say no and take the dough.”
The news conference on the east side of bridge was not without disruption as a handful of trucks with Trump flags and motorcycles played loud music and revved engines from a short distance away. Pelosi took it in stride.
“It doesn’t bother me,” she said. “As a mother of five, I’ve always made my voice heard.”