Buttigieg Meets With Amtrak, Transit Officials

Newly confirmed Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg stood on a boarding platform at Washington Union Station on Friday to urge compliance with a federal mask mandate aboard trains, planes and buses.

Pete Buttigieg

He also pledged that the Biden Administration will provide financial relief for public transit systems through its American Rescue Plan.

The remarks came during a meeting with Amtrak and Washington public transit officials.

 “We depend on many essential workers for our economy and for our way of life,” Buttigieg said.

“And while many Americans are wrestling with the complexities of working from home, many other Americans don’t have the opportunity, or the option, to work from home, and they are supported by these extraordinary workers who look after the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of American travel.”

Buttigieg said that above all he wanted to thank transportation workers for making it possible for essential trips to be taken and essential goods and service to be delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mask mandate stems from an executive order signed by President Joseph Biden on Jan. 21 directing facial masks for domestic and international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its own mandate on Jan. 29 requiring the wearing of facial masks while on public transportation and while in transportation terminals.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration on Jan. 31 issued a security directive stating the mask mandate applies to passenger railroads, intercity bus services and public transportation.

In the meantime, a coalition of 22 transit agencies has called on Congress to provide $39.3 billion in pandemic relief to public transit systems in order to avoid further service and job cuts.

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