Pete Buttigieg to be nominated as next DOT secretary

December 16, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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Pete Buttigieg has been picked to be the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The former South Bend, Ind., mayor’s nomination was formally announced by President-elect Joe Biden during an event on Wednesday, Dec. 16 in Wilmington, Del.

Much of the announcement focused on plans to rebuild America’s infrastructure.

“We need someone who knows how to work with state, local and federal agencies,” Biden said. “For example right now, one in five miles of our highways is still in poor condition, according to the Society of American Engineers. Tens of thousands of bridges are in disrepair and some are on the verge of collapse.”

When Buttigieg ran for the Democratic nomination for president earlier this year, he pitched a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that promised to create 6 million jobs and repair roads and bridges in poor condition by 2030.

Buttigieg served as the mayor of South Bend for eight years and was an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserve who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.

Buttigieg’s nomination will next go to the Senate for confirmation.

“We don’t know much about Mayor Buttigieg’s national transportation policy priorities, but we intend to find out,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said. “We’re always willing to work with anyone who has an open mind on real issues that impact our nation’s truck drivers, and I think we’ll learn more about his transportation interests as he goes through the Senate confirmation process.”

Buttigieg would replace Elaine Chao, who has been the DOT secretary since 2017. It is still unknown who will be the next administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

In late November, Spencer – a former truck driver – announced that he was interested in leading the FMCSA, saying the agency needed someone with trucking experience to fix the industry’s problems and improve highway safety.

Whether it’s as OOIDA president or FMCSA administrator, Spencer said he is willing to work with the next DOT secretary.

“Regardless of whether I’m at OOIDA or serving as the next FMCSA administrator, I’ll be as helpful as possible to him, his team and everyone at DOT,” Spencer said. “We believe the country would be better served with major infrastructure investments, but that can’t happen without a willing Congress, the likes of which we have not seen in a long time. Hopefully fresh faces can open the door to a new beginning.” LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.