Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg promised to fight racial, economic, and environmental injustice during his Senate confirmation hearings for the Department of Transportation on Thursday.
“I also recognize that at their worst, misguided policies and missed opportunities in transportation can reinforce racial and economic inequality by dividing or isolating neighborhoods and undermining government’s basic role of empowering Americans to thrive,” Buttigieg said in his opening statement at the hearing. His remarks reflected a similar sentiment that he voiced in December when he was first nominated by Biden to join the administration.
Buttigieg cited his own efforts to launch a “smart streets” initiative in South Bend that “brought new life” into urban and underserved communities in the city as an example of good policy that should be imitated in the Biden administration.
“We got results by bringing people in, engaging stakeholders and residents, prioritizing limited funds effectively, and unlocking new resources to solve problems,” he said.
Buttigieg also defended Biden’s decision to kill the Keystone pipeline, despite ending thousands of American jobs.
“I believe that president’s climate vision will create more jobs on net,” he said.
He noted that the transportation sector was the biggest producer of greenhouse gases and said it was “imperative” to build infrastructure throughout the country to support electric vehicles.
“This is not only imperative in order for us to meet our climate goals and prevent the destruction of property and life but it’s also very important for industry,” he said.
American car companies, he explained, should move more quickly to the development of electric vehicles.
“American workers should be leading the way in producing for example electric vehicles in the most efficient vehicles on the road,” he said.