San Francisco Chronicle – Nancy Pelosi’s clout for Bay Area will be missed

Nowhere will Nancy Pelosi‘s loss of the House speakership be felt more acutely than here in the Bay Area, where her power – and the power of fellow local Democrats in Washington – has been used to help steer hundreds of millions of dollars into infrastructure projects.

“Just look around,” said Jim Lazarus of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “The $400 million for the Transbay Terminal project, the Doyle Drive rebuild, the Hunters Point Shipyard cleanup. If she wasn’t there, I’m not sure we would have gotten the funding, and we certainly wouldn’t have gotten it as fast as we did.”

And there are projects still on the table, such as the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles high-speed rail project that is just getting off the ground and looking for big federal money.

“We’re still fortunate to have (Sen.) Dianne Feinstein there, but we’ve lost that one-two punch we had between the House and the Senate,” Lazarus said.

Regional leaders also see a loss of access in Washington.

“It’s difficult working the halls of Congress when you don’t have the speaker of the House who understands specific facets of your region, and isn’t there to help set up meetings,” said Jim Wunderman, head of the Bay Area Council business group. “There will be a price to pay.”

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