U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg came to New Jersey on Monday to tout President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan. The visit also served as a boost for a Democratic congressman potentially facing a tough reelection fight in a little more than a year.
“This will be the most complex and expensive public works project in American history,” Buttigieg said.
The former presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend Indiana sat down with mayors to tell them the details of the trillion-dollar infrastructure framework that could pass the Senate by dawn on Tuesday. He says that the plan would send $4 billion to New Jersey to be used for mass transit.
“Some of the things that are possible through this bill will happen immediately. And I'm thinking about that list an arm's length long that every mayor has. And every state leader has of things they would be able to do right away if they only had the funding,” Buttigieg said.
Funding for a new Portal Bridge has already been approved. But the bill would fund a new tunnel under the Hudson River as part of the Gateway project.
“We have an opportunity like we haven't had in my lifetime to modernize our infrastructure,” Buttigieg said.
Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski was on hand to greet the transportation secretary.
“It's not just fixing the old stuff that needs to be fixed - as important as that is – it’s taking us forward. It's taking a giant leap forward towards the clean energy future,” Malinowski said.
The trillion-dollar Senate bill could be followed by a $3.5 trillion framework that addresses everything from climate policy to child care. Both bills will still need to be passed by the House, likely in September.
“Better transportation is absolutely the key that unlocks a better quality of life in all of these communities,” Malinowski said.
In a statement, the Republican National Committee called the $3.5 trillion-dollar framework "lighting taxpayer dollars on fire."
Malinowski will likely face Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. in November 2022, in a rematch of New Jersey's closest 2020 race.