On Feb 2, the U.S. Senate confirmed Pete Buttigieg to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation by a vote of 86-13. Secretary Buttigieg will be tasked with advancing President Joe Biden’s agenda in the Transportation Department, where he will oversee 55,000 employees. Secretary Buttigieg is expected to play an important role in promoting Biden’s sweeping environmental initiatives, and support the president’s push for an infrastructure plan.
Before Buttigieg was confirmed, ABC sent a letter to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee stating that efforts to ensure competition and access to infrastructure contracts for all American businesses should not be opposed in favor of government-mandated project labor agreements on federally assisted construction projects that would strip the ability of many small businesses to compete fairly for projects.
ABC also raised the concern that an infrastructure proposal could exclude the overwhelming majority of America’s construction industry professionals who are not educated in federal registered apprenticeship programs. Not including recognition for industry-led programs in favor of only federal registered apprenticeship programs would reject the “all-of-the-above” approach that ABC has advocated for.
Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), who introduced the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, at the hearing, led a discussion on the slow pace of federal project-approval process and further streamlining the NEPA permitting review process, an ABC-supported mission, to which Buttigieg said, "I think we should take every opportunity to make sure that these [review] processes are efficient and as much as is possibly doable—consistent, of course, with those safety and environmental goals—that they are speedy, that they're not duplicative."
Buttigieg's confirmation elevates the former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to a top post in the federal government. He is the 19th transportation secretary and the fifth member of President Biden's cabinet to be confirmed by the Senate.