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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (seen above) addressed the attendees of Transportation Research Board’s 2022 Annual Meeting during the chair’s Plenary Session on January 12 – covering a wide array of topics, including equity, clean energy, road traffic safety, and infrastructure investments.

[Above image via TRB]

“I think research and innovation will be playing an exceptional role over the next decade in transportation,” he said. “We have to make the most of these investments [from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act]. We have to put these funds to work in a focused way to advance our key priorities – jobs, climate, equity, and safety – in preparation for the future. And your work will be essential to that.”

Buttigieg said that every transportation decision is inherently an equity decision. “That is way we are building equity into our grant programs and continue looking for ways to improve our Disadvantages Business Enterprise programs,” he added. “All money in the world won’t help unless it goes to the right places.”

Then there is safety, what Buttigieg called the “fundamental mission” of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“Most forms of transportation have gotten dramatically safer over the years except that there is a glaring exception: our surface transportation, specifically our roads,” he said. “We must confront the fact that these deaths are not inevitable but preventable. We need to make driving as safe as flying or any other mode of transportation.”

The full video of Buttigieg’s TRB speech is below:

editor@aashto.org

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