By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA

Former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is the nation’s 19th U.S. Department of Transportation secretary. The Senate Feb. 2 confirmed his nomination by 86-13.

Buttigieg “has seen firsthand how transportation improvements can benefit communities and the infrastructure challenges the nation continues to face,” ARTBA President & CEO Dave Bauer said in upon his nomination in December. “We are eager to work with him to build the broad-based support necessary for a long-term federal transportation investment program that benefits all Americans.”

At his Jan. 21 confirmation hearing, Buttigieg said he wants to build on the Senate’s 2019 bipartisan highway reauthorization bill, study new funding measures, and examine opportunities for additional project delivery reforms.

After the confirmation vote, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that Buttigieg “is committed to working with members from both sides” as part of new Biden administration. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said he looks “forward to meeting and working with Secretary Buttigieg to better strengthen state flexibility, move projects ahead more efficiently, address rural infrastructure needs, harness the potential of technology, and improve our highways, airports, ports, waterways, and rail transportation systems.”

The 39-year-old Buttigieg replaces Elaine Chao, who resigned shortly before the end of the Trump administration.