President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to be his Secretary of Transportation. Buttigieg, who was an opponent of Biden’s during the 2020 primary elections, is expected to play a central role in the incoming president’s plans to restore and repair roads and bridges across the U.S. Biden has said smart, climate-friendly infrastructure projects could help the U.S. emerge from the coronavirus recession stronger and help support thousands of jobs.
As mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg – a military veteran – embarked on extensive urban development and economic revitalization projects similar to those championed by Biden in promises to revitalize American infrastructure. As a presidential candidate, he proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan that focused on opportunity, equity, and empowerment. Key takeaways from the transportation portion of the Buttigieg plan included:
- Investing $150 billion in public transportation, including $12 billion focused on rural communities, and improving the national rail network.
- A $3 billion grant program would help fund programs that cross state lines (Gateway Tunnel, perhaps?).
- Federal transportation projects would be evaluated on how effectively they connect people to jobs and services – a metric that could help connect housing to opportunity by linking low-income areas with employment centers.
- Buttigieg proposed spending $6 billion on electric vehicle charging infrastructure and make the Highway Trust Fund, the nation’s primary source for transportation funding, solvent.
“South Bend was once called one of America’s ‘dying cities.’ Today, it’s a hub of innovation and job growth. Mayor Pete Buttigieg led that resurgence and has been nominated by the President-elect to continue that work as Transportation Secretary,” the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition team said.
“This is a moment of tremendous opportunity – to create jobs, meet the climate challenge, and enhance equity for all,” Buttigieg tweeted. “I’m honored that the President-elect has asked me to serve our nation as Secretary of Transportation.”