As Secretary, Buttigieg Can Steer a New Course for Department of Transportation

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Feb 2, 2021

WASHINGTON (February 2, 2021)—Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to lead the Department of Transportation. In this position, he’ll have a vital role to play in reducing pollution, advancing equity and fighting climate change, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Transportation Program at UCS.

“With a new Secretary of Transportation, we have an opportunity to set a new direction for the department—one that takes a broad view of the transportation system and its impact on the economy, the environment and racial equity.

“As a former mayor, Buttigieg understands the importance of a robust transportation system and the intersection of federal, state and local governments in maintaining that system. Investing in transportation, from public transit to electric vehicle charging stations to local bike routes, is essential so that everyone can have affordable, accessible options to get where they need to go. The investments we make today must not only address our current economic and environmental crises but set us up for a more sustainable and equitable future.

“Transportation is the largest source of global warming emissions in the U.S. and a major source of harmful air pollution that imposes serious health costs on communities across the country, putting a disproportionate burden on communities of color. As Secretary, Buttigieg has promised to make sure the Department of Transportation takes an active role in the effort to cut emissions. In particular, he should support the electrification of our transportation system, including the buildout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and work constructively with the Environmental Protection Agency to set strong efficiency and emissions standards for passenger cars and trucks.

“We look forward to working with the new Secretary of Transportation on reducing the risks of climate change and bringing cleaner, more equitable transportation options to all communities.”