Former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is President-elect Joe Biden's choice for US Transportation Secretary, Reuters first reported on Tuesday. If confirmed by the US Senate, Buttigieg will have the most important seat in the cabinet in the eyes of the auto industry.
The Biden transition team did not return Roadshow's request for comment, though Buttigieg made Biden's selection official on social media Tuesday evening. The pick will elevate Buttigieg, 38, from a midwestern town mayor to the head of a federal government department in a span of a single year. He will also become the first openly gay person appointed to a presidential cabinet, if confirmed.
Biden's former rival will have a massive agency to oversee in the position. Buttigieg will oversee the Department of Transportation, which includes the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He may play a crucial role in future infrastructure decisions for US roadways, and changes in vehicle safety and emissions standards. These are key areas automakers will likely be eager to speak with the potential secretary about as many companies begin to rally around Biden's victory. Last month, Nissan followed, and Toyota plans to take a second look at its support.that aims to strike down California's ability to set its own emissions standards.
The biggest question that may face Buttigieg is the possibility of self-driving cars. Current did begin to lay out framework for the future of autonomous vehicles in America, but Buttigieg, if confirmed, will likely face important decisions over the as progress continues on the technology.