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Environment

Biden Admin. Appoints Pete Buttigieg for Sec. of Transportation

4:44 PM EST on December 15, 2020

Pete Buttigieg. Courtesy of the City of South Bend, Indiana.

Pete Buttigieg. Courtesy of the City of South Bend, Indiana.

President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly recruited former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg to lead the U.S. Transportation Department.

Buttigieg ran against Biden in a crowded Democratic primary contest earlier this year. During the primary, Buttigieg's transportation platform, which called for a nationwide Vision Zero policy and for de-prioritizing highway expansions, received high marks from Transportation for America, a Washington organization that lobbies for transportation policy reform.

Jim Aloisi, a Massachusetts transit advocate who served as the Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation in Governor Deval Patrick's administration and supported Buttigieg as a presidential candidate, said he was "very happy" about the nomination.

"He's a high-profile person, because he made a run for the presidency and did fairly well. To have someone with his stature, his ability to bring attention to important issues – there's a lot of promise there in elevating transportation policy issues and getting things done," said Aloisi during a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon. "The real hard part of the job is to figure how to navigate the national politics to build alliances between large urban, small urban, suburban, and rural areas. Where he comes from – his background and his instincts make him more likely to be able to build the broad national alliances you need."

Aloisi and other observers note that Buttigieg will have a major responsibility in making sure the Biden administration meets its climate goals.

"I would like to see the Biden administration think about putting together a sustainability cabinet," suggested Aloisi. "The energy secretary, transportation, EPA, and other cabinet members regularly meeting, thinking about how we can reduce fossil fuel use and migrate to cleaner energy in a way that creates jobs and also considers the difficult equity issues, and make sure that nobody’s left behind as we transition to a cleaner economy."

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