SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The 75th anniversary celebration for the Golden Gate Bridge kept rolling Friday with California Gov. Jerry Brown comparing the landmark span to his own big dreams for the Golden State.
During a commemoration ceremony, Brown championed two proposals now facing criticism — a $68 billion high-speed rail system and a $13 billion tunnel system to route fresh water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Brown said there is huge potential in the 520-mile rail system that would stretch from San Francisco to Anaheim, and the giant tunnels that would boost water deliveries to farms and cities and improve habitat for fish.
The governor also told the audience that Californians should not shrink in the face of state budget cuts or higher taxes.
"Suck it in!" Brown said "We got to build, we got to do it right. And this bridge I think really expresses that sense."
The governor lightheartedly mentioned his family ties to the bridge, saying his father was once a member of the Bridge Authority and his older sister walked across it on the day it opened.
Brown also said that at 74, he is younger than the iconic bridge.
He said the bridge was built in the 1930s during a time of high unemployment and in the face of much skepticism. But it proved to be an important asset to future generations, much as the proposed rail and water systems could be, he said.
"So don't tell me about how much it's going to cost this year, think about how much will it give us over the next 100 years," Brown said.
He said time also should not be a factor, noting the Golden Gate took less than five years to build and many cathedrals took centuries. The high-speed rail system might take up to 10 years to finish, he said.
"We've got to get off this, 'If it isn't built tomorrow or it isn't built now, I'm not going to do it,'" Brown said. "We are the result of those who came before us and we're connected to those who come after us."
That's also the lesson of the Golden Gate, he said.
"It connects one side to the other and we are connected today to our past and to our future," Brown concluded.
U.S. House Minority Leader and San Franciscan Nancy Pelosi also attended the ceremony.