Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg returns to Washington

Jul 5, 2023, 6:56 PM

Transportation Secretary Buttigieg...

Transportation Secretary Buttigieg during an infrastructure trip. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

(AP Photo/Matt Freed)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will be in Washington Thursday and Friday to highlight major infrastructure projects.

Buttigieg will visit Mukilteo and Port Orchard to talk about the ferry system Thursday. The ferries were hobbled early in the pandemic as ridership tanked. Staff left in droves due to retirements, transfers, and firings. The system also has been weakened by a lack of maintenance and repairs, as well as a shortage of workers.

Buttigieg’s visit to Port Orchard Thursday afternoon will take near the site of the future Port Orchard Marina Breakwater and include highlighting Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments “that will help create jobs, grow the economy, and help people get where they need to go,” according to a news release. He will give remarks at a press conference with Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, Democratic Rep. Derek Kilmer and both of the state’s U.S. Senators, Democrats Patty Murray and Nancy Cantwell.

“When a storm damaged the nearly 50-year-old Port Orchard Marina Breakwater last year, the future of a $10 million local economy was put at risk,” Cantwell said in a statement. “The Port Orchard community relies on a functioning breakwater to support the 465-slip marina – home to vital emergency response services, fishing boats for recreational anglers and the Suquamish Tribe, and the area’s only fueling station. The marina also serves as the overnight mooring spot for the Kitsap Transit foot ferry, which provided more than 200,000 trips last year.”

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On Friday morning, Buttigieg will visit Washougal to speak on infrastructure investments that are intended to improve safety, speed up emergency response times, and strengthen supply chains.

More on the infrastructure package

The visit is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to highlight the new $4.4 billion infrastructure law. Over 350 projects in Washington have been identified for funding. There are 416 bridges and over 5,469 miles of highway that have been identified as needing renovation.

Since the bipartisan infrastructure law passed, approximately $3.1 billion has been announced for transportation – which will be invested in roads, bridges, public transit, ports and airports – and roughly $364 million has been announced to address water issues.

In addition, 281,000 households across the state are now getting lower-cost high-speed internet because of the new law.

More on transportation: Multi-billion dollar package would strike down repeal of fuel export tax

According to the White House, the state of Washington is expected to receive approximately $5.3 billion in federal funding over five years for highways and bridges. So far, only $2.2 billion has been earmarked.

The infrastructure bill includes efforts to:

  • Provide clean water to those who need it
  • Provide access to high-speed internet
  • Repair and rebuild roads and bridges
  • Upgrade public transit to reduce greenhouse emissions
  • Revitalize and rebuild airports
  • Invest in, mainly, the northeast corridor rail system
  • Build a network of electric vehicle chargers

Buttigieg has been the secretary of transportation since Feb. 3, 2021.

Contributing: Steve Coogan

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg returns to Washington