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Butigig says Biden’s plan will usher in a new era of transportation

Washington (AP) – Transportation Secretary Pete Butgig said on Thursday that the soon-to-be-announced infrastructure plan from President Biden would offer a “once in a century” opportunity to relocate transportation to the United States, where cars and highways are no longer king.

Speaking at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, which is being held almost this year, Buttigig compared the new opportunity to the creation of an Intercontinental Railroad between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and President Abraham Lincoln in the 1950s. before that

“We start with something clumsy that fixes and improves what it has already received. “There is a trillion-dollar congestion just on our roads and bridges,” he said. “But I will add that there are some things that need to be reduced … sometimes the roads need to be dieted.”

He said the United States could no longer follow the 1950s mentality of building roads, communities, and transporting as many cars as possible, but that it needed to adapt to climate change, ensure the safety of cyclists and pedestrians on the streets.

“Design choices about how fast cars move, no matter if there’s a bike lane և sidewalks … even green space, all of that is part of that view,” Butigig said. “Sometimes we have to widen the road or widen the road. “Just as often, I think we should take it out.”

Butigegg was quoted as saying after a report released on Wednesday that global demand for gasoline had peaked and was unlikely to return to pre-epidemic levels due to changes in consumer behavior such as telecommunications and the move to electric vehicles. People are also transported to other modes of transportation, such as bicycles or scooters, for shorter journeys.

The close-knit Congress is preparing for the size of the major battle infrastructure package, including the level of federal investment in public transportation relative to roads and highways.

The recently adopted COVID-19 bill included $ 30.5 billion for struggling transit agencies. Public transport groups are demanding even greater investment in infrastructure legislation, which has historically sent 80% of its money through roads and highways in transit with the support of rural, republican strongholds.

During his presidential campaign, Biden laid the groundwork for $ 2 trillion in infrastructure and climate change. But the White House has not yet adhered to the timetable for the release of the detailed plan, which is already facing Republican resistance to Biden’s focus on environmental spending.

On Thursday, Buttigig said he saw opportunities to build a fast-track Republican’s other railroad in the tough Republican states, not just northeastern California’s coastal, Democratic areas. He said it could reduce car dependence, create jobs and help the environment. But he acknowledged that he “could not do it alone” without large federal investments, with the support of Congress.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a former Democratic presidential candidate, returned to the annual Texas Art and Technology Festival on Thursday. SXSW programming director Hugh Forrest praised Buttigieg as the “most successful startup” since he first appeared at the event when he was running for president in 2019. The festival was canceled last year due to an epidemic.

Butigig made it clear that his work on Biden’s team was just beginning.

“When I leave this job, when it happens, I want to look back և to say that my presence here helped turn the 2020s into a turning point in American transportation history,” he said to make it more “fair.” , the main driver of climate change solutions.

“I really think we can do that,” Butigig said.

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