• President-elect Joe Biden nominated former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg to be the Secretary of Transportation.
  • Buttigieg will oversee the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, two positions which can enable him to have large impacts on the auto business.
  • Buttigieg may oversee the constructing of electric-vehicle charging stations in addition to the regulation of autonomous and superior driver-assist applied sciences.

    Earlier this week, President-elect Joe Biden nominated Pete Buttigieg, the previous mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to be the Secretary of Transportation. This would be the most outstanding public service place Mayor Pete is but to carry and on this position he’ll be capable to form and affect the auto business for years to return.

    The Department of Transportation (DOT) is headed by the transportation secretary, and this division oversees administrations associated to aviation, infrastructure, and transportation. The two which have essentially the most impression on the auto business are the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). From this place, Buttigieg is anticipated to tackle initiatives resembling increasing the electric-vehicle charging community, regulating autonomous and superior driver help applied sciences, setting car emissions guidelines, and investing in infrastructure.

    “Jobs, infrastructure, fairness, and local weather all come collectively on the DOT, the positioning of a few of our most formidable plans to construct again higher,” President-elect Joe Biden mentioned in an announcement. “I belief Mayor Pete to guide this work with focus, decency, and a daring imaginative and prescient — he’ll convey folks collectively to get large issues completed.”

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    Buttigieg will come into the place along with his personal transportation plans, a few of which had been printed when he himself was operating for president. Although they offer some route as to what he’ll pursue as transportation secretary, his authentic concepts shall be “modulated” by the plans of Biden and whichever celebration controls the Senate, Carla Bailo, the president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research, informed C/D.

    “To have somebody from the Midwest in that place is sweet,” notably because it’s the place the automotive business is positioned, Bailo mentioned. “When we speak in regards to the issues that mobility and infrastructure are dealing with all through the U.S., pondering of other options which might be novel and distinctive and being open to listening to about them is actually necessary,” and that’s one thing that Buttigieg has demonstrated prior to now, Bailo mentioned.

    One place the place Buttigieg’s transportation plans intersected these of Biden was the purpose so as to add extra electrical car charging stations across the nation; Biden’s plans explicitly state that he goals to construct 500,000 electrical car charging stations. Such an funding could be a win for the auto business which has been investing billions of {dollars} in electrical automobiles and will encourage extra EV gross sales.

    The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a commerce group which represents a lot of the business, welcomed the nomination of Buttigieg in an announcement. “As the applied sciences that can outline the way forward for private mobility quickly evolve, efficient collaboration and engagement amongst authorities, business, and stakeholder companions shall be important to persevering with U.S. management, job creation and competitiveness within the auto sector.”

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    One of the longer term applied sciences the place Buttigieg’s impression is anticipated is within the regulation of autonomous in addition to superior driver-assist applied sciences, which may finally impression the expertise which reaches shoppers. Currently, there’s little federal regulation of those methods, together with testing and integration into client automobiles. This lack of regulation has been repeatedly famous by the Insurance Institute for High Safety (IIHS).

    “I feel we are going to start to see (federal regulation), as a result of it’s actually a should,” Bailo mentioned. That begins with regulating the ADAS methods presently seen on automobiles however will lengthen to autonomous methods. “You can’t change the mind of a automotive when it crosses a state line or goes out a metropolis space and into one other metropolis space. You actually need to have some requirements which might be nationwide, and that is the place NHTSA must step up.”

    Buttigieg may additionally tackle how the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is funded, because the HTF has run at a deficit for various years now. The HTF, which funds federally constructed highways and mass transit, collects a overwhelming majority of its income by means of fuel taxes. Yet, because of the fuel tax not being raised since 1993 and automobiles turning into extra gas environment friendly, funding the HTF has change into an more and more bigger situation.

    In his marketing campaign platform, Buttigieg steered switching to a car miles traveled mannequin which might tax street customers primarily based on what number of miles they’ve pushed. This thought is one which isn’t explicitly shared with Biden and could be a radical departure from the established order, but it surely may result in the HTF being absolutely funded and due to this fact in a position to make investments appropriately in infrastructure. Bailo mentioned that it isn’t possible this might take a big toll on the auto business.

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    U.S. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan welcomed Buttigieg’s nomination in an announcement, saying “As a Midwest Mayor, Pete Buttigieg has a singular understanding of what it takes to revitalize our infrastructure, create native jobs, and construct on partnerships which were a confirmed success. This is a historic nomination, and – as a fellow former officer within the U.S. Navy Reserve – I look ahead to discussing extra with Secretary-designate Buttigieg on the way to preserve the American auto business as the worldwide chief on mobility.”

    Nonetheless, Buttigieg’s nomination was not appreciated by all. Black neighborhood leaders from South Bend informed Politico whereas Buttigieg was into consideration for the place that he could be an insufficient selection for communities of colour given his poor document with the Black neighborhood in South Bend.

    Buttigieg nonetheless must be accredited by the Senate earlier than he can assume this position.

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