Senate votes to confirm Buttigieg as U.S. DOT secretary

February 2, 2021

Land Line Staff


The U.S. Senate has confirmed Pete Buttigieg as the next transportation secretary.

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, Senators approved Buttigieg’s nomination by a vote of 86-13.

At age 39, the former South Bend, Ind., mayor will become the youngest DOT secretary in history.

During Buttigieg’s confirmation hearing on Jan. 21, he took mostly a “wait and see” approach to questions relating to trucking. However, he touted the importance of the role that transportation and trucking plays for the country.

“I believe good transportation policy can play no less a role than making the American dream possible,” Buttigieg said at the hearing. “Getting people and goods where they need to be, directly and indirectly creating good-paying jobs.”

When asked about specific topics, such as if he would support an FMCSA pilot program to evaluate split sleeper berth options, he was noncommittal.

“I’d want to take a closer look at this and engage with stakeholders as well to make sure I understand how this pilot program squares the goals of worker and traveler safety with the goals of flexibility,” he said.

Regarding hours-of-service exemptions for livestock haulers, Buttigieg didn’t provide a stance on the topic but did admit that regulations can’t always be one size fits all.

“Sometimes our policies can’t tell the difference between live animals and other kinds of cargo,” Buttigieg said in response to a question from Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. “That’s something I’m eager to look into and work with you on.”

Buttigieg also declined to show all of his cards on NHTSA’s plan to modernize rules surrounding autonomous vehicles, but suggested that he believes the technology could be here relatively soon.

“Automated vehicle technology is coming,” Buttigieg said. “It’s advancing very quickly. It is something that holds the potential to be transformative, and I think in many ways policy hasn’t kept up. I haven’t had a chance to evaluate this last step in detail, but I look forward to digging in on that. More broadly, making sure that we’re acting so that on the policy side we’re ready for all of the things that autonomous technology can bring to our roads and to our economy.” LL