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Pete Buttigieg Announced As New Transportation Secretary

United States Senate Confirms Pete Buttigieg as the new Transportation Secretary with a strong focus on infrastructure.
Gage Skidmore

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Nation’s nineteenth Transportation Secretary was approved on February 2nd, 2021 by the United States Senate. Pete Buttigieg was the chosen candidate.

Buttigieg will be working closely with Congress to help push through infrastructure priorities for the Biden Administration, as well as focus on the reauthorization of infrastructure law. He will be in charge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, amongst other agencies, and well over 55,000 employees within the transportation department. His remarks during his confirmation hearing were focused primarily on infrastructure and safety.

As reported by the AP, he is expected to promote green initiatives put forward by the Biden Administration that would include a $2 trillion climate and infrastructure plan. Analysts expect him to focus on rebuilding bridges, roads, and boost electric vehicle infrastructure as well. The initiatives put forth also take a stance on stronger fuel economy standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Pete Buttigieg’s confirmation was met with statements from multiple agencies welcoming him and urging him to look into addressing their various concerns.

Lisa Mullings, CEO and President of The National Association of Truck Stop Operators, says that her organization looks forward to working with him on a broad array of issues. A few are long-term highway funding and policies to encourage private investors for alternative fuel infrastructure. One such alternative being electrical charging for vehicles.

With a nationwide network of travel plazas, truck-stops, and off-highway fuel retail locations, The National Association of Truck Stop Operators supports the Biden Administration in their focus and goal to bring alternative fuel solutions to the industry quickly and efficiently.

Mullings said, “We encourage [Buttigieg] to focus on solutions that solve our infrastructure investment challenges without harming the interstate-exit based businesses that help to support the nation’s economy and their local communities by providing jobs and crucial tax revenues. Maintaining existing policies that prohibit commercialization of interstate rest areas and the longstanding ban on tolling existing interstate highways are key to that effort.”

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials were amongst the other organizations and leaders in the Transportation Industry to welcome Pete Buttigieg.

At the start of the year, a list of policy priorities was released by The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in an effort to guide and support the new strategies and investments made to the transportation infrastructure. Securing additional relief aid for COVID-19 in part with a larger investment packet for infrastructure to spur the economy into a period of recovery are top priorities for the organization. They are working toward the reauthorization of a long-term transportation funding bill to prevent the interruption of programs and not create delays in mobility and safety benefits for states and communities.

Jim Tymon, Executive Director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, made this statement via press release, “AASHTO believes the work being done in transportation should endeavor to improve quality of life for all Americans. State DOTs look forward to working with Secretary Buttigieg to make that happen by improving safety; building a more resilient transportation system; and, supporting diverse options for people and their communities.”

In a statement by Sam Graves, a Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, he is looking forward to providing strong bipartisan support while working with the new secretary on policies. “Secretary Buttigieg already signaled he agrees that America’s rural infrastructure needs are important and must be addressed. I also agree with his conclusion that increasing or indexing the federal gas tax is not a long-term solution, especially given the new administration’s and House Democrats’ goal of virtually eliminating gas-powered vehicles. Clearly, we need to find a fairer and more sustainable method of supporting the Highway Trust Fund, and I look forward to working with Secretary Buttigieg to explore a viable replacement for the federal gas tax, such as a Vehicle Miles Traveled system.”

Department Of Transportation Agencies are expected to revisit several of the actions taken by the Trump Administration regarding the de-regulation of certain industry standards, such as hours of service rules and how flexible they are. This will proceed under the watch of Pete Buttigieg.

Former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a former Democratic Presidential hopeful, Pete Buttigieg is the first openly gay person to be confirmed as a member of the Cabinet. He is thirty-nine years old.


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