Senate confirms Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary

Pete Buttigieg speaks at the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation nomination hearings to review his awaited nomination for Secretary of Transportation in Washington.

Ken Cedeno | Reuters

The U.S. Senate confirmed Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation on Tuesday, presenting the former presidential candidate with a myriad of challenges – from President Joe Biden’s environmental priorities to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, easily received approval from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation last week after a largely amicable hearing. He was asked about issues related to Covid-19, the much-needed improvement in infrastructure, and strengthening the powers of the Federal Aviation Administration if he were to lead the DOT, which has 55,000 employees.

In the first two weeks, Biden’s government has already taken strict measures regarding transportation measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. Biden extended an entry ban for most non-US citizens who have recently been to Brazil, the UK and much of Europe. On Tuesday, the US government asked passengers to wear masks on planes, trains, buses, ferries and other means of transport.

Buttigieg’s DOT could become a driving or limiting force in the adoption of new technologies, especially autonomous and electric vehicles.

Biden has already directed federal agencies to consider revising the Trump administration’s lowered fuel emissions standards. He also said he plans to replace the government’s fleet of cars and trucks with U.S.-assembled electric vehicles

The 39-year-old will be the first openly gay person to hold a cabinet position and one of the youngest ever.

– CNBC’s Michael Wayland contributed to this article.

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