From: David Montgomery
Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 2:53 PM
To: Dubyak, Meghan M. EOP/OVP
Subject: Biden St. Paul pool #1
Vice President Joe Biden met with Minnesota officials including Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman in St. Paul's Union Depot, concluding around 12:06 p.m.
The vice president at 12:10 p.m. boarded a Metro Transit hybrid bus, built in St. Cloud, Minnesota, as it was parked at Union Station. He spoke with the driver, 26-year Metro Transit veteran William Byrd, and suggested Biden might take the bus for a ride.
"I used to drive a bus," Biden told the driver. "You think I'm joking, but I'm not."
The director of the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority, Tim Mayasich, told the vice president how renovating Union Depot had been a "shovel-ready" project when the 2009 stimulus bill was passed. Mayasich said it was completed "under budget and ahead of schedule." Mayasich also talked of efforts by local and regional officials to get a second daily Amtrak trip between the Twin Cities and Chicago.
"There's so much more we can do," Biden said.
Biden told a story of a conversation he had with a railroad bridge architect, in which Biden bragged about how Amtrak upgrades let trains go from Washington, D.C. to New York City in "less than three hours."
"He said, 'Senator, in 1948, we had a train called the Senator that did it in 2 hours and 48 minutes," Biden said.
At 12:15 p.m. the vice president left the bus and traveled upstairs to the main hall at Union Depot, where he addressed an invitation-only crowd of more than 100 people starting at 12:39 p.m. following speeches from Coleman, Rep. Betty McCollum, Klobuchar, Dayton and Deputy U.S. Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez.
In Biden's 26 minute speech, he praised the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the $35 million that act provided to pay for Union Depot's renovation.
"The reason I'm here at Union Depot is to show what private-public partnerships are all about, how they can stimulate investments," Biden said.
St. Paul Pioneer Press