Buttigieg says Transportation Office will push ‘bold’ thinking

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pete Buttigieg, sworn in Wednesday as transportation secretary, urged his 55,000 staff to embrace “imaginative, daring, forward thinking” as the Transportation Section embarks on a important mission to rebuild America’s infrastructure and foster equality.

“We will proceed to prioritize basic safety as the foundation of all the things we do,” Buttigieg said in his electronic mail information, which was acquired by The Associated Press. “And at the identical time, we will crack new floor: in making sure that our financial state recovers and rebuilds, in climbing to the weather obstacle, and in making confident transportation is an motor for equity in this country.”

He included that the department’s mission “has never ever been a lot more vital than in this time of modify and risk.”

Enjoy: Senate confirms Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary

In a broader video clip concept he tweeted to the American general public, Buttigieg stressed both of those the problems and opportunities forward in strengthening America’s transportation technique.

“Today we confront an unprecedented well being disaster, we’re navigating an economic climate in risk and our country is reckoning with the impacts of systemic racism,” he reported in the one-minute campaign-design video. “But with new management will come a new option, a possibility to construct our transportation procedure again better than it at any time was ahead of.”

“There is so substantially work to do, but I am deeply optimistic about where this journey will direct,” he claimed.

Buttigieg, a 39-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and previous Democratic presidential prospect, was sworn in Wednesday early morning by Vice President Kamala Harris, at a ceremony in the Outdated Executive Place of work Setting up in the White Household elaborate. Buttigieg, the initially brazenly gay particular person to be confirmed to a Cabinet post, took the oath on a Bible belonging to his mom and held by his partner, Chasten.

He was confirmed Tuesday by the Senate on a 86-13 vote, producing him the second of Biden’s Democratic rivals to have a spot in the administration, with Harris staying the 1st.

Praised by Biden as bringing a “new voice” to the administration, Buttigieg has pledged to rapidly get to operate endorsing protection and restoring purchaser have confidence in in America’s transportation networks as airways, buses, town subway devices and Amtrak reel from plummeting ridership in the coronavirus pandemic. He also is predicted to engage in an critical role in endorsing Biden’s inexperienced initiatives, supporting the president’s thrust later this year on a $2 trillion local climate and infrastructure approach that would rebuild streets and bridges and increase zero-emission mass transit even though boosting electric motor vehicle infrastructure.

In his email to workers Wednesday, Buttigieg stated he will commit the up coming number of months on a virtual listening tour with workforce and appeared forward to fulfilling Biden’s vision of a flourishing America “in partnership with all of you.”

He said he will get the job done to “ensure that each single day, everyone right here finds the Office to be a area of belonging and welcome — and that collectively, we cultivate a supportive, imaginative, bold, ahead-wondering and variety functioning atmosphere.”

Observe Live: Senate holds affirmation hearing for EPA administrator nominee Michael Regan

Describing himself and his enthusiasm for transportation, Buttigieg recounted to staff how he liked travel and adventure as a child, with his bed room adorned with a Lego monorail, a wood ship acquired by his grandfather when he was a Service provider Marine, and little design airplanes introduced residence by his father from company visits.

As a university scholar and youthful skilled, Buttigieg said he took cross-region Amtrak excursions and proposed to his partner at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.

“I know that, at its best, transportation helps make the American Aspiration feasible, finding individuals and items to in which they will need to be — and directly and indirectly generating superior-paying out careers,” he said. “We also should understand that at their worst, misguided procedures and skipped chances can reinforce racial and economic inequality, dividing or isolating neighborhoods, undermining the government’s simple function of empowering Us residents to prosper.”

“The legacy of American transportation can be both weighty and inspiring — and its upcoming is of elementary nationwide value,” Buttigieg advised workforce. “Here’s to all that is ahead.”