Tunnel advocate confirmed to US Transportation Department

April 29, 2021

The U.S, Senate confirmed Polly Trottenberg, by a vote of 82-15, to the No. 2 spot at the U.S. Transportation Department. Trottenberg is a New York Policy veteran who will be deputy to Secretary Pete Buttigieg. She will bring more than 30 years of experience to helping President Joe Biden sell his $2.25 trillion infrastructure package.

Bloomberg Government reported that Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan faces pushback from Republicans and corporations opposed to the tax increases proposed to pay for the plan. Trottenberg, whose nomination was opposed by 15 Republicans, drew criticism over her efforts in New York City to regulate rideshare companies such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.

Democrats lauded her support of the long-delayed Gateway rail project to alleviate congestion between New York and New Jersey, as well her focus on clean transportation technologies and making streets safer for multi-modal users, like cyclists and pedestrians.

Trottenberg’s most recent post was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Department of Transportation commissioner. She has promised to seek bipartisan solutions for the nation’s transportation needs.

“Throughout my career, I always valued the ability to work with colleagues across the aisle,” she said at her nomination hearing on March 3.
Her understanding of transportation issues will help the administration work to get a package across the finish line, said Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO.

“She’s an honest broker, she’s someone who really understands the policy, and she understands the priorities of this administration,” Regan said.

Trottenberg served on Biden’s transition team, worked in the Obama-era Transportation Department as assistant secretary and under secretary for policy, and spent 12 years working on legislation as a Senate aide for Democrats including Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the current majority leader.

Schumer said on the Senate floor Monday that he talked with Trottenberg “regularly” about Gateway. During her confirmation hearing, Trottenberg agreed to prioritize the rail and tunnel project, calling it a “project of national significance.”

The Biden infrastructure package would double transit spending, according to the White House, providing $85 billion to modernize public transportation.

Trottenberg made progress toward improving bus service in New York, Pearlstein said. Nationally, 45 percent of Americans have no access to public transit, Pearlstein added.

 

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