WASHINGTON (Jan. 24, 2021) — This week, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was sworn in as transportation secretary by the United States Senate. In a video he tweeted following his confirmation, Buttigieg noted the work to be done in the transportation sector, but said he was optimistic about the future.
“Today we face an unprecedented health crisis, we’re navigating an economy in danger and our nation is reckoning with the impacts of systemic racism. But with new leadership comes a new opportunity, a chance to build our transportation system back better than it ever was before,” he said in the video.
During his campaign for presidency, Buttigieg discussed a goal of repairing half of the structurally deficient roads and bridges in America by 2030. Other items in his infrastructure plan included an investment of $6 billion into charging stations for electric vehicles and a plan to make the Highway Trust Fund solvent.
Click here to listen to an interview with NPR in which Buttigieg lays out his transportation plans in greater detail.
Following the confirmation this week, the American Society of Civil Engineers released the following statement:
The American Society of Civil Engineers applauds the Senate's vote to confirm Pete Buttigieg as the incoming secretary of the Department of Transportation. We are eager to work with Secretary Buttigieg and the DOT to maintain and modernize our nation's vital infrastructure systems, prioritizing sustainability and climate-resilience. We urge the administration to make investments in our nation's transportation systems a central component of our nation's economic recovery and a tool to bring equity to struggling communities.
No doubt that Secretary Buttigieg brings strong experience and the right leadership qualities to champion this approach as he leads the DOT. As a former mayor, Secretary Buttigieg knows that these issues require consensus and bipartisan solutions, and he has seen firsthand how infrastructure policy and investment impact families, businesses, local economy and quality of life.
Our nation's highways, bridges, local roads, transit systems and railroads need repair and poor infrastructure already costs the average American household $3,300 a year in lost disposable income. The financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have only exacerbated pre-existing issues. As the nation looks to revitalize the economy, ASCE believes that our infrastructure systems and our transportation networks need to be a top priority to provide access and opportunity to communities. We are looking forward to working with the Department of Transportation and Secretary Buttigieg to improve our nation's transportation systems and build a better quality of life for all Americans.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater released the following statement upon Biden's announcement nominating Buttigieg:
“We endorse the nomination of Buttigieg because he not only recognizes that we need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure to boost our economic productivity and global competitiveness, but also because he appreciates that such an investment will enhance the quality of life in both rural and urban communities,” Slater's letter said. “Buttigieg has outlined an affirmative vision for transportation infrastructure that prioritizes maintenance of existing assets and supports enhancements grounded in technology, sustainability, and workforce development. With the perspective of a mayor, Buttigieg understands the important role that state and local governments play in providing and maintaining the nation’s infrastructure and how to seek input and build consensus.”