Buttigieg: We Are ‘Rebuilding’ the Foundation of Transportation

Pete Buttigieg, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (above), says his agency and the nation’s mobility community are currently involved in “one of the most exciting, productive, and challenging times in U.S. transportation history” – driven in no small part by “historic” levels of funding provided by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, enacted in November 2021.

[Above photo by AASHTO]

Speaking at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ 2023 Washington Briefing, held February 28 through March 3 at the Hilton Washington D.C. Capitol Hill hotel, Buttigieg explained that the Biden administration seeks to “rebuild the foundation of our nation’s transportation system” via IIJA funding both in terms of physical infrastructure – fixing roadways, bridges, airports, etc. – but also by making those transportation networks cleaner and safer.

“We are living in the season of project delivery for the IIJA – time is money and there is great pressure on costs, so we must make every transportation dollar go as far as we can,” he noted. “We have a lot to celebrate but also a lot more to do.”

[Buttigieg’s full remarks are in the video below]

For example, he noted that there are “many challenges” associated with the electric vehicle “revolution” USDOT and the Biden administration are trying to spur across the country. “This is not an incremental or layered change on our transportation system; it is a fundamental transformation of it,” he said. “We will look to you [state DOTs] and your experience on the ground as you deploy EV chargers and as you prepare communities and states for this revolution. Of all the new 40-plus programs funded by the IIJA, I do not think any are as novel as this [National Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure or NEVI] program.

Buttigieg also emphasized that USDOT also wants to maintain its focus on reducing roadway fatalities and injuries in line with its National Roadway Safety Strategy or NRSS, unveiled in January 2022, and encouraged the state department of transportation community – with the Washington State Department of  Transportation and the Missouri Department of Transportation formally joining the agency’s “First Movers” initiative, along with AASHTO, in February – to bolster that effort.

“We would not settle for this level of death and destruction on our roads in any other facet of American life or mode of transportation,” the secretary stressed. “That’s why we’re setting a tone of urgency and will continue to do that.”

Buttigieg summed up his remarks with a “thank you” to the state DOT community for its work in trying to bring those and many other new mobility endeavors to life. “The level of expectation and work that have been placed on your shoulders from all of this is likely unprecedented, but we at USDOT are really excited about it,” he said. “This is the really fun part but also the really but hard part – this is where we encounter available workforce issues, supply chain problems, and rising material costs. But on the other side of this mountain is where we have not only transformed the physical transportation infrastructure of the country but the economic capacity of our country as well. We are lifting up the entire country’s ability to compete and to win.”

ETAP Podcast: Georgia’s Transportation Investment Act

The latest episode of the Environmental Technical Assistance Program or ETAP Podcast examines the impact of Georgia’s Transportation Investment Act or TIA a decade after its passage – a voter-approved 1 percent sales tax dedicated to funding state transportation and infrastructure needs.

[Above photo by the Georgia DOT]

In 2012, voters in three Georgia regions – River Valley, the Central Savannah River Area, and the Heart of Georgia Altamaha – approved a 1 percent sales tax that would last for 10 years to fund regional and local transportation improvements. Voters in the Southern Georgia Region passed the same transportation tax referendum in 2018. While TIA tax collections continued through 2022 for the original three regions, those collections will continue until 2028 for the Southern Georgia Region.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is responsible for the management of the budget, schedule, execution and delivery of all 1,022 projects contained in the TIA’s “Approved Investment Lists,” and

Kenneth Franks – state TIA administrator – details on this episode of the ETAP podcast how the regional and local impact of those projects. To list to the full episode, click here.

Environmental News Highlights – March 3, 2023


AASHTO Offers ‘Stewardship & Oversight’ Insights to FHWA – AASHTO Journal

‘Next Steps’ Unveiled for National EV Charging Network – AASHTO Journal

FHWA Issues Waiver to Speed Up Electric Charging Infrastructure – Transport Topics

Biden Admin Focuses on Rural U.S. with Infrastructure Projects – Public News Service/Daily Yonder

Jimmy Carter’s presidency was defined by energy – Bloomberg

Why are fossil fuels bad for the environment? Here’s what they are and how they impact our environment. – USA Today


Chicago Regional Rail Leaders Plan for Post-COVID Future – Railway Age


North Jersey Transportation Planning Agency About More Than Just Funding – Cranford Radio

EV charging infrastructure is ‘inadequate and plagued with non-functioning stations’: J.D. Power – Utility Dive

Interest Grows in Pennsylvania’s Grant Program to Electrify Fleets – Transport Topics

California Is Racing to Electrify Trucks. Can the Industry Keep Up? – Grist

How An Autonomous Train-Bus Hybrid Could Transform City Transit – CNBC

Redrawing Philly’s bus system is hard. Here are lessons from cities that have done it. – Philadelphia Inquirer


Hybrid cars are still incredibly popular, but are they good for the environment? – WGBH

Electric Cars Are Having the Desired Impact on Air Pollution – Motor Biscuit

‘Technology lanes’ coming to U.S. 75 HOV with low emission and EV component – WFAA-TV

Two more environmentally overburdened California communities added to statewide Community Air Protection Program. – California Air Resources Board (media release)


Complaint from deaf traveler at Austin airport sparks changes to TSA policy – Austin Monitor

Getting around rural America without a car is hard. These communities developed solutions – Harvest Public Media

How historic infrastructure investments can benefit women workers – The Hill (opinion)


Caltrans to Help Build Highway/Rail Wildlife Overpass – AASHTO Journal

WSDOT Coordinates with City of Des Moines to Improve Green Space – AASHTO Journal

Maryland Launching Program to Help Keep Roads Clean – WBOC-TV

Scientists Could Explain “Climate-Informed Wildlife Crossings” Better – ClearTechnica


Historic terminal at Long Beach Airport closes for yearlong renovation – KTLA-TV

Nashville Public Transit Attracts Riders through Tourism Partnerships – Mass Transit (op-ed)


How Living Near A Railroad Can Harm Your HealthNational Geographic

Palo Alto faces resistance on plan to ban e-bikes in the Baylands – Palo Alto Weekly

ODOT continues with Mobility Ohio pilot program – Coshocton Tribune

New Haven spending $400K to make city safer for pedestrians – WTNH-TV

The Night That Changed San Francisco Cycling Forever – KQED Radio

Want to fight climate change? Try making it easier to walk. – Environment America (commentary)


Career Series #3 – Transportation Equity: Community-Building in Action – TRB (Webinar)


Waiver of Buy America Requirements for Electric Vehicle Chargers – FHWA (Notice)

Request for Information on US DOT Equitable Transportation Community Explorer (ETCE) Tool and Index Methodology – Office of the Secretary, Department of Transportation (Request for information)

Approval of Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) Noise Compatibility Program – FAA (Notice)

Roundtable on Environmental Justice and Equity in Infrastructure Permitting; Supplemental Notice of Roundtable – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Notice)

U.S. Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee; Notice of Public Meeting – Maritime Administration (Notice)