tv Transportation Secretary Buttigieg Delivers Remarks at Union Station in DC CSPAN February 6, 2021 10:51pm-11:01pm EST
from members of congress. use the maps to follow the cases in the u.s. and worldwide. go to c-span.org/coronavirus. >> in one of his first public events as transportation secretary pete buttigieg met , with transit and railway workers at union station in washington, d.c. and outline some of the administration's agenda. sec. buttigieg: good morning. thanks, everybody, for coming. i'm delighted by the opportunity to lead the department of transportation and wanted to make sure we were getting out and about right away, because there are so many essential workers in america's transportation system, like the workers that you see behind me who we have been speaking with, who we depend on for our
economy, for our way of life, and while many americans are wrestling with the complexities of working from home, many other americans don't have the opportunity or the option of working from home, and they are supported by these extraordinary workers who look after the safety, the efficiency, the effectiveness, of american travel and are doing it right here in the region. i really love being here at union station. his is a special place. i remember from being here on a school trip when the food court was the most exciting part of this place to coming out of the red line station as an intern and walking to work every day when i was a student in college, to all of the many times that i have been able to take journeys through this extraordinary facility. this really is part of the beating heart of the national capital region and this entire mid-atlantic area so i thought it was a fitting place to visit
my first time out and about as secretary. as i've often said, we have an opportunity right now to build back better than we ever were before. we are in a moment of need to act and ensure that we are sustaining the basics, but also to go beyond the basics because this would be a missed opportunity if we simply build back exactly the way we were before. what brought me here today is the opportunity to speak with workers and with leaders from transportation in america and above all, the biggest thing i have to say to all of the leaders assembled here and the broader field they represent is a big thank you to you, to those you work with and represent, transporting people to critical jobs, making sure that vaccination sites can be reached , providing access to vital community services, and again,
the folks you see here have been on these front lines for many months. as you know, health and safety is the biden-harris administration's number one priority and therefore the number one priority of the department of transportation. the science is very clear. face coverings stop the spread of virus transmission, and science-based measures are essential to preventing and defeating covid-19. as you see, this administration has gotten to work from day one with the president acting to sign executive actions to promote safety during the covid-19 public health emergency in domestic and international travel. there is a cdc order requiring masks be worn throughout the nation's transportation networks by passengers and workers on transit vehicles and transit facilities and tsa has issued a security directive implement in that order, stating it applies to passengers of railroads,
services, and public transportation. mask wearing, physical distancing, appropriate ventilation, and timely testing can reduce the spread of covid-19. we also know the mask requirement will save lives by helping to control the transmission of covid-19. let me also mention as we start to see news stories about variants, one of the best ways to defeat that is to give the virus fewer places to mutate, which is all the more urgent around stopping and slowing the spread. we've got to make sure public transit, rail, and motor carrier operators can continue to serve in these essential trips and those groups, as well as their counterparts in the aviation industry and other parts of transportation come through this crisis ready to serve the nation. and now, we are supporting additional investment for covid relief in order to keep workers and -- in their jobs, keep passengers on the rails, and we
believe this is achievable. amtrak transit and our commuter rail agencies are facing in norma's financial shortfalls. they are being asked to work miracles with the resources they are given in the best of times and now have faced the in norma's challenge of sharp drops in revenue. i had the opportunity to meet with the leaders of amtrak and hear about their needs and they underscored the importance of mask orders, the fantastic work their employees have been doing at work and adhering to compliance with those mask requirements on the part of the traveling public. we need to support them. we need to make sure as much as possible that we do not put these employees in the position of having to ask or remind, although they are prepared to ask and remind when necessary, but let's make it easier for the
people who are making it easier for all of us to get around this country and get through our day. they also have offered thoughts on what it will take to keep their systems running, recognizing the absolutely critical need to provide the funding for modernizing their systems building our economy back, better than ever means an opportunity to do it with equity , to revitalize communities that have been left behind, especially community color that have been disrupted by transportation policy decisions in the past. now is our chance to get it right. when we do, we are enabling economic growth, enabling families to prosper, and we are once again leading the world as
america ought to in every dimension of our transportation sector, so the american rescue plan is not just what the american people need right now. it is what the american people expect. it is an object of bipartisan agreement among the american people and it is time for us to get to work, so thank you once more to all of the workers and the leadership here today for facilitating essential trips, for deliveries of essential goods and services through the pandemic and for their dedication to the safety and prosperity of this country and the traveling public. i'm looking forward to having a chance to speak to them now. thanks for joining us. [applause]
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