Pete Buttigieg vows to ensure transportation safety in pandemic during his DOT confirmation hearing

Pete Buttigieg, President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Transportation Department, informed a Senate panel at his confirmation hearing Thursday that he’ll work to ensure that transportation techniques are protected during the pandemic.

“We must ensure all of our transportation systems — from aviation to public transit, to our railways, roads, ports, waterways, and pipelines — are managed safely during this critical period, as we work to defeat the virus,” he stated in ready remarks forward of the hearing.

During the hearing, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation pressed Buttigieg on reforms to the Federal Aviation Administration, which got here beneath hearth for outsourcing too many certification duties to Boeing after two lethal crashes of its best-selling 737 Max. The crashes prompted bipartisan laws that handed in 2020 to give the FAA extra management over certification of latest plane.

Buttigieg stated the FAA should “be in the driver’s seat.” He informed Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington state Democrat who pushed for the laws, that he’d pursue personnel modifications on the company if essential.

The 39-year-old former presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, will face a rustic roiled by Covid-19, notably airways struggling to stem billions in losses because the virus retains many purchasers off airplanes.

Biden is scheduled to signal an government order Thursday that may require masks on interstate transportation, together with airplanes, a step airline labor unions have urged since early in the pandemic however one the Trump administration declined to take. Airlines, Amtrak and bus corporations comparable to Greyhound already require passengers to put on masks on board. The labor unions have argued {that a} federal rule would give extra weight to their firm guidelines. Carriers have banned greater than 2,500 folks during the pandemic for refusing to observe masks guidelines.

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