Pete Buttigieg is the transportation secretary. He has a lot of money to put into Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure package. He talked about how it will have more electric cars, trains, and airports when someone asked him a question.
How would he go about building racial equity into infrastructure? He would use resources to build things. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who is running for president in 2020, laid out his argument. He said that roads could be racist. One billion dollars will help cities and neighborhoods to connect again.
I’m still surprised that some people were surprised when I pointed out that if a highway was built to divide a white and a Black neighborhood … that reflects racism.
Racial equality is when there is no difference in the way people are treated. Buttigieg, a Democrat, wants to ensure that equality is in the White House and for all people. He did not do well in his race with Black voters, so he will have to plan better when he runs again. If Buttigieg does not do well with Black voters, he may not be able to get into office, and Biden’s plan may fail.
Republicans want to use this issue to win. They are going to make Buttigieg say things that he doesn’t want to say.
I heard some stuff from the secretary of transportation, but it wasn’t about social issues. It was about roads. He said that roads are racist. I don’t think that’s true.
Buttigieg did not answer the reporter’s questions. He walked away from the interview and went to Scotland. In Scotland, he talked about climate change. He met with young activists and had a photo taken with President Obama.
He said that we should do something to fix the racism in roadways. But he doesn’t know who it hurts.
His department said they would give extra help to U.S. communities to remove portions of the interstates and make them more like a walkable grid, redesign rural main streets, and repurpose former rail lines. That will help places like Syracuse, New York, where many people want that plan for their city. It might also be helpful in racially divided areas in New Orleans and St. Paul, Minnesota.
On Monday, we will see Vice President Biden sign the infrastructure bill. Mayor Pete is a newcomer to politics, and he was voted into power because he understands that voters want real-world solutions like fixing potholes.
Biden was running for president, but he decided to stop. Buttigieg then supported him. Now they are working together. They are the most powerful people in Washington who will handle the money coming into transportation, which is a lot of money because it’s the biggest amount since the 1950s when they built highways.
With that much money and the ability to spend it however they want, Buttigieg will have an important job. He will be secretary of transportation. The government created this job in 1967.
In all, there will be about $120 billion in new transportation spending. This will come from a law that gives Buttigieg discretion on how the money is used.
There is a bill in the House to spend more money on transportation. The Transportation Department will get $140 billion, which will be over 50% of their budget.
Lots of money. Ray LaHood is a former Republican Congressman from Illinois who was the Transportation Secretary under Obama. He said that major federal investments in transportation have been stagnant, making people want to spend it now.
It is a good thing and a bad thing that Buttigieg’s going to be a dad. He took time off from work to care for his kids when they were born, but he also had to go back because people were saying it was wrong for him to leave. More recently, he took care of his sick son while still working on some problems in the supply chain.
When someone has a new baby and wants to take care of their child, this is not a vacation. This is work. I will not apologize for that.
Starting this week, Buttigieg will travel around the country and tell other Cabinet members about the plan.
Look! We don’t need to be persuaded that our bridge needs to be fixed, that the airport needs an upgrade, or that the ports need investment. Washington has not caught up yet.
The transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, says that Michael Buttigieg will have many challenges. One challenge is to make sure that there are clear guidelines on what people can get money for and how the money is handed out. This means he will work with state and local governments to know what they can get money for and how much. The secretary also needs to manage new programs with high dollar figures, so he has more pressure on administrative staff.
On Friday, Joe Biden said he would name someone outside of his administration to be a watchdog on the money spent.
Once all the programs are in place, the money for programs will start coming after six to nine months. There will be grants for projects like bridges and railroads. These grants can come as early as spring 2023.
As a mayor, Buttigieg cared about fixing roads and potholes. He liked to talk about how many sewers we had in the city. Now he will be talking about this for the whole country.
People who want to be politicians need to get attention. Pete is doing this because he has many advertisements. The White House staff call Pete “Secretary Mayor Pete.” Biden compared him to his son Beau. The White House staff also celebrated Chasten’s birthday with cupcakes. “You’re the best, man,” Biden told Buttigieg after speaking at the White House over the summer.
Yet, in a city full of ambition, Buttigieg’s potential to move onto the national stage can make him a target.
Nina Smith, Buttigieg’s former traveling press secretary, says that Buttigieg has the chance to lead an effort to “eradicate past injustices.” But Black people did not like him during the 2020 campaign.
“I think he is aware of this responsibility and is making it a key part of his work,” said Smith, a Democratic consultant.
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