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Transportation

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Touts Infrastructure Plan In Oregon

On a visit to Oregon, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg highlighted the need for infrastructure investment to reduce carbon emissions and increase safety. The former mayor got to test drive an electric bus while visiting Eugene / Springfield.

Lane Transit District is replacing its aging diesel fleet with all-electric buses.

After taking a supervised test drive, Buttigieg said this kind of transition to zero-carbon transportation is what the INVEST in America Act will help facilitate.

“It’s, of course, going to make the air cleaner here in Lane County,” Buttigieg said. “It’s going to reduce carbon emissions around the world. And it’s coming at a moment when Oregon, unfortunately, like so many other places in the world, has reminded us of what’s at stake in the climate crisis.”

Buttigieg referred to the recent historic triple digit heatwave in the northwest.

“Things that we had talked about as maybe going to happen in the middle of this century that instead happened last week,” Buttigieg said. “Things that are only going to accelerate and become more and more damaging if we let them. Fires raging as we speak. People being pushed from their homes. Amtrak service cut off between Oregon and California. And this on the heels of last week’s terrible fires.”

The Secretary also visited Corvallis where he learned of recent pedestrian fatalities and spoke of making roads safer for all modes of transport. Buttigieg traveled with Democratic U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio of Springfield who is Chairman of the House Infrastructure Committee.

DeFazio said now is the time to pass meaningful legislation to fix the country’s aging road systems and invest in renewable energy. But, the biggest challenge is convincing his Republican colleagues.

“They said that climate doesn’t belong in a transportation bill," DeFazio said. "I said it certainly does. It’s the largest single contributor to climate change in this country. And they’re like, we don’t believe in climate change. We were doing my bill while the heat dome was here and I said, you don’t believe in climate change? Let me tell you what’s going on in the northwest right now. And wait until it happens to you. Then maybe you’ll believe. But then it might be too late for the world and for your people.”

Buttigieg said spending time with DeFazio was like having a beer with an "encyclopedia of transportation".

Copyright 2021 KLCC.

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