The Dept. of Transportation will prioritize climate change in support of Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, Buttigieg tells Congress

The Dept. of Transportation will prioritize climate change in support of Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, Buttigieg tells Congress
Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden shake hands after the Ohio Democratic presidential debate in October 2019.Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg told Congress this week that the US Department of Transportation would prioritize climate change in support of President Joe Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan.
  • Biden's infrastructure plan will add jobs to the economy while working to combat the climate crisis.
  • Buttigieg said that funding for the plan depends on how the economy recovers from COVID-19, making the timeline for implementation uncertain.

Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing on Thursday that he will prioritize climate change as part of the Department of Transportation's support for President Joe Biden's infrastructure plans.

Biden has proposed a $2 trillion investment in infrastructure, according to his website, with the intent to create "the jobs we need to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure now and deliver an equitable clean energy future."

This investment includes funding toward the auto industry, transit, the energy sector, buildings, housing, and environmental justice, and will work to ensure the investments create millions of jobs that expand the middle class. Buttigieg said in his confirmation hearing that Biden's actions on climate change will add more jobs while addressing the global crisis.
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"When the books are written about our careers, one of the main things we'll be judged on is whether we did enough to stop the destruction of life and property due to climate change," Buttigieg said.

Autonomous vehicles are an area Buttigieg noted he will work to advance, which would benefit both the climate and the economy by reducing both fuel costs and carbon emissions.

The number of unemployed Americans has spiked during the pandemic, so Biden's goal of adding climate-related jobs to the labor market will not only address the climate crisis, but will hopefully stimulate economic growth and recovery.
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When asked by Republican lawmakers how the federal government would pay for Biden's costly infrastructure package, Buttigieg said it would be reliant on how the economy recovers from COVID-19, including how effective Biden's executive actions are in addressing the pandemic and providing financial relief.

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