Buttigieg promises ‘infrastructure week’ won’t be a joke when he’s transportation secretary

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday introduced former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg as his pick to lead the Department of Transportation. And while Buttigieg acknowledged there’s no way he’ll beat out Amtrak Joe as the “biggest train enthusiast” in the administration, he did announce that he’ll center railroads, climate change, and union jobs if he’s confirmed for the job.

Buttigieg, the youngest candidate in the 2020 primary field, had reportedly been clamoring for a big spot in the Biden administration. And on Wednesday, Biden laid out an expansive role for him. “When I think of climate change, I think about jobs, good paying union jobs” focused on repairing and building new roads, bridges, and ports that make it “faster and cleaner” to transport American people and goods, Biden said. Buttigieg similarly promised to lead an infrastructural revolution, so the joke of a never-achieved “infrastructure week” becomes “associated with results.”

Those promises are reminiscent of the Green New Deal, which proposes creating thousands of jobs to steer the U.S. into a clean energy economy, though Biden has explicitly said he doesn’t back the package.

Buttigieg isn’t exactly who climate activists would’ve liked to see lead the DOT, though Buttigieg’s emphasis on climate change is giving some of them hope.

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