President-elect Biden selects Pete Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg attends the Ministers’ Breakfast hosted by National Action Network in North Charleston
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg attends the Ministers’ Breakfast hosted by National Action Network in North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., February 26, 2020. (REUTERS/Eric Thayer)

With a talent pool to choose from that has included former city Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg or former Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg, President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly picked former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation.

If confirmed, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay member of a president’s cabinet overseeing a transportation agency with a $90 billion budget with questions of whether or not a Biden administration will green-light a number of New York City-related projects such as congestion pricing.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Feinberg said she is “massively supportive of the president-elect, I’m sure he’s made a good decision here.”

Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum gave the decision a nod in the hopes that the former mayor’s understanding of transportation infrastructure as a critical need for city dwellers will help New Yorkers transform the five boroughs.

“For the Biden administration to succeed, our cities must recover their strength. That starts with robust investments in our transit systems, in the infrastructure that millions of Americans rely on every single day, and which are fundamental to an inclusive and just recovery,” Plum said. “Here at home, New Yorkers are counting on a Secretary Buttigieg to move congestion pricing forward on Day One. A robust program can produce up to $2 billion for transit each year. New York needs that money more than ever, along with significantly reduced congestion, pollution, emissions and collisions.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy gave the nomination his blessing in highlighting the experience of mayors in managing road infrastructure as well as anticipation of federal assistance in advancing construction of the Portal Bridge and the long-delayed Gateway Program to replace aging Amtrak infrastructure under the Hudson River.

“As a former mayor, he knows the importance of investing in safer, more efficient interstate roads and bridges, and in the connections provided by a secure rail network. President-elect Biden has chosen the right person to lead on delivering the promise of clean energy and electric vehicles, on creating new union jobs, and on investments in environmental justice – all of which are inextricably intertwined within our transportation infrastructure,” Murphy said.

Danny Harris, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director, said the nation would benefit from adopting a vision Zero initiative as well as helping to deliver funding the city and the state for transit improvements.

“We are excited to see Mayor Pete Buttigieg as the next Secretary of Transportation. It is critical that the Biden administration green light congestion pricing, fully fund public transit, and promote safe street design, including a national Vision Zero policy, nationwide,” Harris said. “Mayor Buttigieg is an experienced leader, and we look forward to him advancing this critical work for New York and cities across the country.”

This is a developing story, check back with amNewYork for updates.

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