President-Elect Biden Picks Pete Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to be his transportation secretary.

During his presidential campaign, Buttigieg proposed a 1 trillion USD infrastructure spending plan.

The president-elect tweeted that “Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a leader, patriot, and problem-solver. He speaks to the best of who we are as a nation. I am nominating him for Secretary of Transportation because he’s equipped to take on the challenges at the intersection of jobs, infrastructure, equity and climate.”

Joe Biden picks Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary
Joe Biden picks Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary

This pick makes Buttigieg the first 2020 presidential candidates to join the incoming administration as cabinet secretary. If appointed, Buttigieg would serve as the 19th United States Secretary of Transportation, succeeding Elaine Chao.

In the statement announcing the nomination, Buttigieg was commended for his efforts to transform South Bend – once called one of America’s ‘dying cities’ – into a lively hub of innovation and job growth. Should he be confirmed, the statement continued, he would “bring the same vision and policy acumen that reinvigorated South Bend to the task of implementing President-elect Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, including rebuilding modern, sustainable infrastructure nationwide, creating millions of good-paying union jobs, and tackling the climate crisis by helping to deliver an equitable clean energy future.”

Pete Buttigieg is the transportation secretary nominee
Pete Buttigieg is the transportation secretary nominee

Pete Buttigieg said about his nomination that “This is a moment of tremendous opportunity – to create jobs, meet the climate challenge, and enhance equity for all. I’m honored that the President-elect has asked me to serve our nation as Secretary of Transportation.”

The nomination was welcomed by the US rail industry. During his time as mayor, Buttigieg was a proponent of the South Shore Line and the rail extension to downtown South Bend.

Tony Coscia, Board Chairman of Amtrak, said:

“Amtrak is excited to work with Transportation Secretary designee Pete Buttigieg to launch an era of passenger rail expansion and improvement across the nation. President-elect Biden knows that rail investments will support economic recovery, expanded mobility, and carbon emissions reduction and we are looking forward to working with Mayor Buttigieg and the new Administration to advance these essential goals.”

The Rail Passengers Association also spoke out favourably about the nomination.

Jim Matthews, President and CEO, Rail Passengers Association, said:

“Mayors are the frontline officials in the campaign to rebuild U.S. infrastructure.

“As a small-town mayor—and, more specifically, as an Amtrak mayor—Buttigieg will understand the challenges that come with keeping people physically connected to economic opportunity, the inadequacies of existing federal transportation programs, and the unacceptable timelines for review that delay far too many projects. We look forward to working with the incoming secretary on fixing those problems and connecting all Americans to a growing passenger rail network—whether they live on Wall Street or Main Street.”

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will decide whether Buttigieg is confirmed or rejected by way of a simple majority vote. If successful, the nominee is sworn in.

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