Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg complained that there are too many white construction workers on job sites in minority areas, Fox News reported. He made these remarks during the National Association of Counties Conference Monday while ignoring more pressing issues.
"We have heard way too many stories from generations past of infrastructure where you got a neighborhood, often a neighborhood of color, that finally sees the project come to them, but everyone in the hard hats on that project, doing the good paying jobs, don't look like they came from anywhere near the neighborhood," Buttigieg claimed. The White House cabinet member also blamed this fact for wealth inequality.
Buttigieg told attendees they could help "tearing down those barriers" by focusing on more diversity among the workers. This idiotic approach to infrastructure follows a pattern for the transportation secretary.
When asked how he'd fight racism that is built into the roads, Buttigieg was ready for it. "I'm still surprised that had some people were surprised when I pointed to the fact that if a highway was built for the purpose of dividing a White and a Black neighborhood or if an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly Black and Puerto Rican kids to a beach, or that would have been, in New York was designed too low for it to pass by, that that obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices," Buttigieg said at a November news conference.
In June, Buttigieg proposed $1 billion in legislation to deal with this so-called crisis, the Associated Press reported. Dubbed the Reconnecting Communities program, it would provide funding for better access to roads and faster bus lines in minority communities.
"Transportation can connect us to jobs, services, and loved ones, but we‘ve also seen countless cases around the country where a piece of infrastructure cuts off a neighborhood or a community because of how it was built," the transportation secretary claimed. "We can’t ignore the basic truth: that some of the planners and politicians behind those projects built them directly through the heart of vibrant populated communities," he added.
"Sometimes as an effort to reinforce segregation. Sometimes because the people there have less power to resist. And sometimes as part of a direct effort to replace or eliminate Black neighborhoods," Buttigieg claimed.
Buttigieg called this initiative of focusing on racial issues instead of real transportation concerns a defining "principle" of his office. He's proven his commitment by ignoring that a small town in Ohio is being poisoned by a transportation disaster.
A train on the Norfolk Southern Railroad derailed in Columbiana County, Ohio, on Feb. 3, and led to the release of dangerous vinyl chloride gas. Residents in the immediate area of the crash in East Palestine were evacuated with the help of the National Guard.
To mitigate the danger, a controlled burn was initiated that sent chemical clouds high into the air. Officials claim that the air is safe to breathe, but the location has also sent a toxic "plume" of pollution through the nearby waterways and beyond, according to Reuters.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has responded to the tragedy and pressed Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw to assure there would be a thorough response. "I asked if he would personally guarantee that the railroad would stay there until absolutely everything was clean," DeWine said of his Tuesday conversation with Shaw.
"He gave me his word and his commitment that the railroad would do that they would not leave until that was done," the governor said. This is more than Buttigieg has had to say about the issue.
Some believe this was a long time in the making, as Buttigieg has been busy vanquishing racism. "No one wants to listen until we have a town blown off the face of the earth, then people listen," Clyde Whitaker, chairman and director of the Ohio State Legislative Board for the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers Transportation Division said.