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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff traveled to Raleigh on Friday to promote President Biden’s U.S. Jobs Plan, a $ 2 trillion infrastructure proposal that the president presented in a speech to the Congress Wednesday evening.
In this proposal, the Biden administration calls for investment in repairing highways and public transport, modernizing water pipes and access to broadband, green infrastructure and advocacy for workers’ rights. to join a union, among other things.
If the proposal becomes law, states and localities could apply for grants, allowing them to prioritize and pitch their own projects, The News & Observer reported earlier in April.
Buttigieg and Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, made three stops in Raleigh: Teamsters Union Hall in northwest Raleigh, the North Carolina State Centennial Campus, and Raleigh Union Station downtown.
They held a press conference at the station to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Amtrak, whose first train traveled from New York to Philadelphia on May 1, 1971.
At the press conference, Emhoff and Buttigieg were joined by Governor Roy Cooper, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin and U.S. Representatives David Price and Deborah Ross, both Democrats.
“Governors across the country have been waiting for an infrastructure bill for a long time,” Cooper said. “A comprehensive infrastructure bill will be essential for the recovery of our state and that of this country.”
The Biden administration has claimed the proposal will create millions of jobs. Ross said those jobs need to be created in North Carolina and the rest of the country.
“None of these jobs can be outsourced. They are for our American workers. Everyone from that engineering doctorate at NC State to the union worker to the high school graduate who can pave our roads, ”Ross said.
Baldwin said Raleigh Union Station, which began operating in 2018, can bring more housing and transportation access to the region with more federal funding.
“We need the US jobs plan because we want to be the city of the future,” Baldwin said.
Buttigieg said the proposal would begin to move the country away from a car-focused transit system.
“If you ride a bike, walk, use a wheelchair, the commute will be safer for you because the transportation will be more people-centered and not just cars,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg and Emhoff speak with local union representatives
At Teamsters Union Hall, Emhoff and Buttigieg spoke with local representatives from the AFL-CIO, the Amalgamated Transit Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Buttigieg explained how the climate part of the infrastructure proposal is not limited to high-level entry-level positions, but also trades workers, especially those working in construction.
“These are not mysterious jobs,” Buttigieg said. “We’re talking about needing carpenters and electricians.”
Emhoff spoke about the need to invest in clean energy for the benefit of the general public.
“The climate should not be a political issue. Everyone needs clean water and clean air, ”said Emhoff. “It’s not controversial.”
Visit to NC State
Buttigieg, Emhoff, Price and Ross toured NC State’s centennial campus as college students and faculty showed them infrastructure research and development.
They watched researchers test the strength of an ultra-high performance concrete beam that uses a mixture of steel fibers in concrete to withstand more force.
“What we just saw at NC State is a great example of how the private sector, academia and the public sector interact,” Buttigieg said at the Raleigh Union Station press conference.