ICYMI: U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Meets With Union Workers, Visits Infrastructure Projects Creating Good-Paying Jobs Across Indiana
The Secretary’s visit to the Hoosier State highlights Biden-Harris Administration policies are creating a pipeline of jobs with smart investments in infrastructure and manufacturing across America
Washington, DC — This week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited Indiana where he had the opportunity to see how the Biden-Harris Administration’s investments in America’s infrastructure and manufacturing are creating good-paying jobs and driving economic growth in Indiana and across the country.
Secretary Buttigieg started his visit in Gary, where he joined U.S. Congressman Frank Mrvan for a visit with United Steelworkers. The Secretary met with USW members, and heard first-hand how the Administration’s investments are supporting the local steel industry.
The Secretary and the Congressman then joined Gary Major Jerome Prince and INDOT Commissioner Michael Smith at the Gary/Chicago International Airport, where they celebrated federal funding for airport projects. These investments will upgrade facilities and improve cargo operations, which will support local manufacturing and strengthen supply chains. The leaders were joined by Ironworker apprentices, who will work on the airport improvements and make the much-needed upgrades possible.
Secretary Buttigieg ended the day in Elkhart, where he joined Mayor Rod Roberson to celebrate a $2.6 million USDOT grant, made possible by the Biden Administration, that is going improve a railroad crossing and interchange that has long caused traffic delays and other issues, especially for first responders, local manufacturers and businesses, and students commuting to the local high school.
On Thursday, August 31, Secretary Buttigieg joined U.S. Congressman André Carson and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler for a tour of Sheet Metal Workers Local 20 apprenticeship facility in Indianapolis. Due to strong demand, the facility has added classes to accommodate the highest-ever number of apprentices signing up as major investments in infrastructure, chips and EV manufacturing, and more — paired with Made in America policies — are creating a pipeline of local jobs for years to come.
In the afternoon, Secretary Buttigieg and Congressman Carson joined Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and local leaders in central Indianapolis to celebrate a roadway redesign project, supported by a $25 million federal infrastructure grant, that will support local jobs and make downtown travel safer and more efficient.
Read below to see what they’re saying about the Secretary’s visit.
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Mrvan credited the federal infrastructure bill passed two years ago for bolstering the transportation industry, and bringing $8 billion in federal funding to Indiana. “The most important thing here today is that we keep continuing to deliver and have a vision for Gary and its greatness,” said Mrvan.
Lakeshore Public Media: Transportation Secretary Buttigieg touts federal infrastructure funding in Gary
“I think we can all agree that transportation infrastructure is a place where we can find a lot of common ground,” Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Mike Smith said at the event. “Record investments are being made, not only to maintain our infrastructure, but to improve our infrastructure, not only with our roads and bridges, but as evidenced here today, with all modes of transportation.”
“In today’s world, as we transition toward rebuilding our community from inside out, we are now using the river as an amenity and as we build amenities downtown, the train tracks have become an impediment to some of the opportunities we have to build out”… Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson said.
“Anytime you can improve and modernize the railroad infrastructure you’re making it less likely that there would be a collision with a vehicle or another kind of rail incident. If you look at the project area where we’re doing this you have a wooden structure built into the asphalt, we are going to upgrade that to a class 1 level. Which is one example of how better physical infrastructure means you could have better and safer operations,” said Buttigieg.
“Shuler said the infrastructure law has led to trillions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure projects for a host of skilled union trades. She said union labor is especially well-positioned to benefit from the law because unions provide paid apprenticeships for prospective workers as well as ongoing training for the existing workforce. ‘This administration, President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Buttigieg, so many others, got it done,’ said Shuler. ‘And so now, it is on us to make sure that every single one of these jobs, these new jobs coming, is a good union job.’”
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“We are very much at the dawn of an infrastructure decade, and for a place that screams transportation infrastructure like Indianapolis here in the Crossroads of America, this is going to mean great opportunity,” Buttigieg said outside the Cummins headquarters downtown, joined by Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis.
“What we’re stimulating the private sector to do and what we are funding in the public sector will test the productive capacity of this country,” Buttigieg said. “From the raw materials themselves to, most of all, the skills and readiness of the workforce who will shape these materials into the factories, roads, bridges and airports which we will count on for the rest of our lives.”