Infrastructure Plan, Jan. July, 2021. WTTW-Nachrichten)” height=”1026″ src=”https://news.wttw.com/sites/default/files/styles/full/public/field/image/Pete%20Buttigieg_Dan%20Ryan_Red%20Line_071621_C2N.jpg?itok=Dztew0_h” title=”Sec. Of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, tours 95th / Dan Ryan Red Line Station with Mayor Lightfoot, CTA President Dorval Carter, Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, and Democratic members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation to Promote President Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Jan. July, 2021. WTTW-Nachrichten)” width=”1824″/>
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Friday he was confident the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill will pass Congress, announced his bipartisan support and said both the president and the public are impatient for the deal to be concluded. But he wouldn’t offer a schedule for when the House of Representatives and Senate, both closely controlled by the Democrats, would be cleared.
“There will be more twists and turns, no question about it,” said Buttigieg.
Buttigieg toured the 95th / Dan Ryan Red Line station with CTA President Dorval Carter, who described the renovated transportation hub as a âjewel in the CTA crownâ. They were joined by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Sens. Dick Durbin, and Tammy Duckworth, and Democratic members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, all of whom raised the potential impact of infrastructure efforts on fair traffic, job creation, and environmental improvements.
Lightfoot called the $ 3.5 trillion proposal a step toward “(prioritizing) reducing downtown congestion and tackling climate change.” She and CTA President Carter both discussed the Transportation Department’s plans to extend the Red Line to 130th Street, saying that money from Washington was key to the success of this project and other CTA renovation efforts.
“The federal grant is the only way CTA can modernize a system that in some places is over 100 years old,” said Carter. The Red Line Extension is currently in a two year project development phase, which is required to receive federal funding, which the CTA hopes will pay for about half of the project. When asked if he was confident that Washington would approve the project, Carter replied with a smile.
“Those of you who know me know that I’m really good at getting money from the federal government,” he said.
The planned extension of the Red Line is intended to provide the Far South Side with more transit capital. Buttigieg praised these efforts, saying it shouldn’t take as long to get from Altgeld Gardens to downtown Chicago by public transportation as it would from his former home in South Bend, Indiana, to get to downtown Chicago by car.
Buttigieg visited 95th Street Station to highlight the nearly $ 50 billion investment in public transportation included in the infrastructure plan. The bill also provides $ 66 billion in funding for Amtrak and passenger transportation. Buttigieg has been asked repeatedly about the much-discussed idea of ââcreating high-speed trains in the United States. He mentioned the idea of ââthree “storefront” lines but declined to suggest where they might be located but said he and the president were excited about the idea.
“In this administration I know that I can only be the second biggest railroad enthusiast at any given time, but I’m working hard to make it close to second,” said Buttigieg. “We as a country shouldn’t put up with not having access to the level of rail transport that people in most industrialized countries take for granted.”
Buttigieg stopped in Illinois on a tour of three states to promote the infrastructure proposal. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer plans to call the massive bill to a vote next week, Politico reported Thursday, although the text of the bill is still pending.
Senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic majority leader, expressed confidence that the deal will clear the Senate. He also took a punch on former President Donald Trump, saying that he would like to compare Biden’s infrastructure plan to that of his predecessor. “But I can’t because there was no infrastructure program in the previous administration.”
Senator Tammy Duckworth, who often uses a wheelchair to get around after losing her legs in the Iraq war, highlighted funding in the infrastructure bill to make old transit stations across the country ADA compliant, calling it “long gone time” .
While the bill slips billions into repairing aging automotive infrastructure, Buttigieg also said investing in transit will benefit both passengers and the country’s environment as a whole.
“It doesn’t have to be called a climate law to be a climate law,” said Buttigieg. “Traffic is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the US economy … we (want) to give someone the choice to use high-quality, safe and effective public transport instead of having to lug two tons of metal around with them wherever they go” go and park somewhere. “