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Here’s What ‘Mayor Pete’ Faces As Transportation Secretary

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and put his name in the national spotlight, has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as the new Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

“Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a patriot and a problem solver who speaks the best of who we are as a nation,” Biden said. “I am nominating him for Secretary of Transportation because this position is at the nexus of many of the intertwined challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

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Buttigieg would be the first openly gay cabinet secretary confirmed by the Senate if he passes the nomination hearings next month. But ‘Mayor Pete’ faces countless problems. Some are new: The financial woes sparked by the nearly yearlong fight against coronavirus have devastated airlines, the cruise industry, Amtrak and public transportation. And some are old: The infrastructure in the United States, from highways to railroads to airports, is deteriorating.

The railroads, especially, are close and dear to the heart of Biden. For years, while serving as a United States Senator, Biden commuted on Amtrak between Delaware and Washington DC Amtrak faced a budget cut for 2021 under President Trump; in all likelihood, Biden and Buttigieg will work together to at least maintain Amtrak’s current budget, if not increase it.

In fact, when Buttigieg ran for president, he announced political platforms that included a $ 1 trillion initiative to repair and rebuild the nation’s rails, roads, bridges, tunnels, and airports. And, again, you’re on the same page as Biden, who wants a $ 1.3 trillion budget over 10 years to make the necessary investment in infrastructure.

When it comes to economically plagued airlines and cruise lines, Buttigieg is known as an aviation fanatic. He is likely to recommend funding to improve airports assuming the vaccine helps fearful travelers to fly again.

Currently, airlines are operating at roughly 40 percent of capacity compared to last year. A bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers has proposed a $ 908 billion stimulus package that looks like it could be voted on before the end of the year. If so, it includes $ 17 billion for airlines, which have already been forced to lay off more than 30,000 employees. Otherwise, Buttigieg and Biden will have another problem in front of them.

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