Mayor Pete’s Opportunity
Biden has given Pete Buttigieg the opportunity to prove he will one day make a great president.
In the long-term, the selection of former Indianapolis Mayor Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation-designee may prove to be Biden’s most important appointment to date. Not only will the Transportation Department play a central role in Biden’s “Build Back Better” administration, but the appointment allows Buttigieg to demonstrate the skills one looks for in a president.
Mayor Pete is making history — again. His surprisingly strong run for president as the first openly gay candidate was historic. This time the 38- year-old is the first openly gay appointee to a cabinet post. He will also be one of the youngest members ever to serve in a cabinet.
Perhaps more importantly, the appointment is a major step towards Buttigieg’s long term career goal — election as president of the United States.
In recruiting Buttigieg for the cabinet, President Biden gets a talented, articulate leader to spearhead a key part of the administration’s economic recovery plans. A Rhodes Scholar, Buttigieg honed his project management and data analysis skills at the blue-chip consulting firm McKinsey. Biden’s chances of delivering on his promise of rebuilding America’s infrastructure will benefit.
An infrastructure track record
Earlier this year candidate Buttigieg released a detailed infrastructure plan titled, “Building for the 21st Century: An infrastructure plan to create jobs, increase resilience, and usher in a new era of opportunity.” Among other things, the plan proposes changing the funding base for the Highway Trust Fund from a gas tax to a user fee, assumed to be a “miles-driven formula.” The new tax would produce $165 billion for the trust fund, helping to make it solvent.
Perhaps more importantly, the plan called for $50 billion in grants to states and local governments to repair or replace at least half the nation’s failing bridges by 2030. It also proposed $6 billion in grants to support infrastructure, such as charging stations, to support electric vehicles.