Transportation Secretary Buttigieg wants cruising to resume by mid-summer

Apr 9, 2021

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined White House spokesperson Jen Psaki today in the White House briefing room for the first time since he joined the Biden Administration. He took questions on the massive new infrastructure plans being pushed by the Biden Administration and other travel issues.

Related: TPG interviews Secretary Pete Buttigieg

He was asked about the resumption of cruises, and said, “The CDC is hopeful that a lot of these operators will be able to be sailing by mid-summer. We want to do this as soon as we responsibly can but we want to be safe.” It comes one day after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was suing the CDC, demanding the immediate resumption of cruising from Florida.

“The bottom line is safety,” Buttigieg said, “I can’t wait for us all to be on the move as much as possible, but it’s gotta be safe and responsible”

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Buttigieg will help the White House push for the American Jobs Plan that will, if passed, spend some two trillion dollars on infrastructure and green energy.

He said, “Infrastructure is the foundation that allows people to live and work well. I’m thrilled to be in this role.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at White House April 9, 2021. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Buttigieg also said, “There’s been a lot of talk at this moment about what infrastructure is and isn’t,” Buttigieg says. “I would argue that infrastructure is the foundation that makes it possible for people to live and work well.”

Related: Amtrak plans to expand new nonstop Acela service from New York

(Screenshot courtesy Amtrak)

Buttigieg also weighed in on train travel, and talked about the $80 billion that will support both maintenance and the development of new routes. Later in the briefing, Buttigieg said America is behind when it comes to trains. “I’m not content that a Chinese citizen should have better access to train travel than Americans,” he said.

Related: Bullet trains in America? 

When asked for a timeline on high-speed rail, Buttigieg said there was a lot of work to do. “We need to add a lot to what we’ve already got. We can build new routes.”

Related: Amtrak’s new Acela high-speed trains to launch 2021

He was also asked about the controversial high-speed rail project in California that is currently over budget and behind schedule. He said there would likely be funding for that project, but that, “I think it’s important to recognize, that different parts of the country can benefit from high-speed rail. This is about lifting our game as a country.”

Buttigieg said roads, bridges and trains would all benefit from the Biden Administration plans, and that “We’re looking for shovel-ready projects, but also shovel-worthy projects.

He said, “When you see the countries doing more than we are… America’s not in first place in infrastructure, we’re 13th. There’s no good reason why we should settle for less.” 

Featured photo by Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images. 

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