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A day before his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the country’s transportation policy affairs championed a pandemic aid package that includes funds for transit systems.
The $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 economic aid proposed by the new president would dedicate $20 billion for those hard-hit transit operations.
“What we’re going to see over the next few hours and over the next few days is aggressive action, looking to the future to make the American people better off, starting with that COVID[-19] rescue package that’s about defeating the virus and building our economy back better,” former Mayor Pete Buttigieg said on MSNBC on Jan. 20. A few hours later, Biden was sworn in as the nation’s 46th president.
Buttigieg, nominated for the role of secretary of transportation, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee on Jan. 21. Responding to a questionnaire from the committee, the nominee emphasized the possibility for cooperation between Congress and the Biden White House to “deliver bold, transformative infrastructure plans.”
He explained, “We must do so equitably, recognizing that transportation policy can either deepen or diminish the effects of racial and economic inequality in our country. The September 2021 expiration of the current surface transportation [law] presents a key moment for action on these priorities.”
A federal law outlining national surface transportation policy expires in September. Congressional transportation leaders have expressed a willingness to update the law this year.
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