Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was confirmed as President Joe Biden’s transportation secretary on Tuesday by a vote of 86-13.
Buttigieg, a one-time Biden rival during the 2020 presidential race, was widely expected to be confirmed after sailing through his Senate hearing with bipartisan praise and clearing the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee vote 21-3.
“I look forward to seeing Pete Buttigieg confirmed by the full Senate,” said Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, the committee’s top Republican, ahead of the vote. “Transportation issues have historically been addressed on a bipartisan basis, and I expect to continue that practice with Mr. Buttigieg.”
As secretary, he will play a large role in Biden’s climate policy and economic recovery. His department is responsible for implementing fuel economy standards within the automotive industry and will help materialize Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure and climate plan, which he campaigned on throughout 2020.
Buttigieg praised Biden’s infrastructure and climate plan during his hearing. The plan focuses on rebuilding roads and bridges, expanding zero-emission mass transit and boosting the production of electric vehicles and charging stations.
“We need to build our economy back, better than ever, and the Department of Transportation can play a central role in this,” Buttigieg said during his hearing on Jan. 21, adding that the transportation sector, fueled by the automotive industry, was responsible for more U.S. emissions than any other American industry. (RELATED: General Motors Pledges All-Electric Cars By 2035, Carbon Neutrality By 2040)
He floated implementing a gas tax during his hearing to pay for the expansive plan, but a spokesman later walked back the proposal.
He also pledged to immediately work to ensure the safety of the country’s airlines, busses, subways, and Amtrak trains, which have all seen their revenue plummet in the wake of the pandemic.
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