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February 19, 2021 1:45 PM, EST

Buttigieg: After COVID-19 Relief, an Infrastructure Policy

Pete Buttigieg"Our infrastructure reflects an example of how Americans have been expected to settle for less, Transportation Secretary Buttigieg says. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News)

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The nation’s top transportation officer echoed the White House’s strategy of pursuing a comprehensive infrastructure policy agenda after the approval of a new round of COVID-19 aid.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg highlighted ongoing concerns linked to infrastructure systems, such as poor connectivity across freight and commuter corridors, lack of options on railways and deficient power grids. Power outages in Texas, for instance, amplify the need to adopt proposals that would modernize modes of energy distribution, he explained during an interview with CNN on Feb. 19.

“Are we going to do what it takes to remain the greatest country in the world or not. And our infrastructure reflects an example of how Americans have been expected to settle for less,”Buttigieg said. “We’re seeing it with the condition of our roads and bridges, the availability of travel options on trains, and right now, in the worst possible way, Texans are seeing it when it comes to our energy infrastructure.”

There’s anticipation among stakeholders that the Biden administration and congressional leaders will commence consideration of a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure policy package as early as this spring. Buttigieg has pledged to champion policies associated with President Joe Biden’s “build back better” climate change-centric proposal.

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Ensuring severe-weather resilience for infrastructure projects and facilitating the use of electric vehicles as well as enhancing alternative-energy options are priorities for the Biden team. Before kicking off a national debate on all-things infrastructure, the secretary echoed the White House’s push to provide the public additional aid during the pandemic.

“The White House, the administration are very focused on passing this rescue bill that’s going to get shots into arms, that’s going to get checks out to families and get us through this moment,” he said. “But I do hope that we will think big when we come to part two of that one-two punch. Right now, rescue, and then a vision for recovery.”

The president’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package proposes boosting funding for the aviation and transit sectors, vaccination programs, and direct aid for low-income residents.

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