Former rival backs transformative change to how nation pays for highways
Roll Call By Jessica Wehrman December 15, 2020
On paper, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg seems an unlikely pick for President-elect Joe Biden’s secretary of Transportation. The 38-year old former mayor oversaw a budget of about $358 million in a city of about 102,000. At the DOT, he’ll oversee a budget of about $90 billion — including about $22 billion in discretionary dollars — and manage a staff of about 55,000. But in choosing Buttigieg as his designee to run the Department of Transportation, Biden has picked one of the few former Democratic presidential rivals to outright endorse a transformative change to how highways are paid for. The choice was announced Tuesday evening by the Biden transition team. Buttigieg, who beat out former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to receive the nomination, was one of the few 2020 presidential contenders to outright endorse converting from the current Highway Trust Fund, which is paid for through the gas tax, to a “vehicle miles traveled” alternative that would tax drivers based on their road mileage.
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