In what continues to be some head-scratching shit, President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, which is the equivalent of being nominated as the secretary of transportation. Safe to say it’s not a glamorous position. Quick, name another Transportation secretary in the history of ever?
According to Politico, Buttigieg was hoping to be the ambassador to the United Nations, but he lost that job to Linda Thomas-Greenfield. He was also considered for the commerce secretary but alas despite Buttigieg’s strong resume concerning transportation—wait, he doesn’t have that either, well, did I mention that he’s a white man?
The former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and Democratic presidential nominee rose to fame over the last two years. Politico notes that his supporters were hoping for a more glamorous assignment to help bolster his political aspirations, but alas that is not the case. Did I mention that Buttigieg is 38-years-old?
I’m dogging the position but let’s be clear: If confirmed, “Buttigieg will head to Washington to take responsibility for nearly 55,000 employees, an $87 billion budget and more than a dozen administrations, overseeing the nation’s airspace, highway system, pipeline safety and much more,” Politico reports.
As South Bend mayor, Buttigieg was chief executive of a city with a population of just over 100,000, with a relatively small transportation footprint. South Bend Transpo, the local transit agency, has a fleet of 60 buses and has seen sinking ridership in the last few years. There’s an international airport near South Bend, but it’s run by the county.
His transportation expertise pales in comparison to other candidates passed over for the job, like David Kim, John Porcari or Sarah Feinberg, all of whom have years of transportation experience both at DOT and elsewhere, and are also savvy Beltway operators.
But that lack of experience did not stop Buttigieg from making grand plans on the campaign trail in 2020. He was one of the first presidential primary candidates to put out an infrastructure plan, a detailed proposal which touted a vehicle miles traveled fee and road safety — subjects usually reserved for policy wonks.
Buttigieg’s presidential campaign started strongly but flamed out quickly as he dropped out of the race right before Super Tuesday. He endorsed Biden and served as a diligent soldier for Biden’s campaign. If confirmed, Buttigieg would become the first openly gay cabinet secretary.