© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US President-elect Joe Biden announces the nominee for Transportation Secretary Buttigieg at his interim headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Trade Committee will hold a hearing next Thursday to confirm the appointment of former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as head of transportation, the panel said on Friday.
President-elect Joe Biden has won Buttigieg – a rival for the Democratic President's nomination last year – as head of aviation, highways, vehicles, pipelines and transit.
On Thursday evening, Biden, who will take office next Wednesday, proposed additional government support of $ 20 billion to resolve the US transit system problem, which has seen the number of drivers massive amid the COVID-19 pandemic has decreased.
Congress has allocated $ 39 billion in emergency funds to transit systems, including $ 14 billion approved last month and $ 65 billion in government loans and bailouts for U.S. passenger airlines. Lawmakers gave $ 12 billion to airports and $ 2 billion to Amtrak passenger trains.
A central theme will be Biden's endeavors to dramatically increase spending on US infrastructure. Biden has also vowed to improve fuel economy standards, which were lowered under Republican President Donald Trump, and to take steps to increase the number of electric vehicles on American roads.
Buttigieg, 38, told MSNBC that security "will be my number one priority".
In April 2019, Trump and Democratic leaders agreed to spend $ 2 trillion on roads, bridges, power grids, water and broadband infrastructure in the US – but the president never suggested a new source of income to support the upgrades Funding – and never made this a priority.
In June 2020, Trump's White House drafted a $ 1 trillion infrastructure proposal, but it was never publicly released.
Biden said Thursday he would ask Congress in February for "historic investments in infrastructure and manufacturing, innovation, research and development and clean energy."
Trump has never had a Senate-approved head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which conducts numerous ongoing car safety investigations.
Biden has also vowed to make face covers mandatory for all interstate travel after Trump refused to legally require it on planes, airports, trains and buses.
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