U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited Indianapolis Thursday to highlight investments in workforce and infrastructure.
Buttigieg toured a Sheet Metal Workers apprenticeship training shop on Indianapolis’s north side. During the visit, the secretary said the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is enabling billions in investment across numerous sectors.
“From the raw materials themselves, to most of all the skills and the readiness of the workforce that are going to shape those materials into the factories, and the roads and the bridges and the airports that we're going to be counting on for the rest of our lives,” Buttigieg said.
More than $4.6 billion in funding from the act has already been announced for Indiana. A majority of that money is for transportation projects, but other funds go toward clean water and high-speed internet.
The act authorizes up to $108 billion in spending across the country. Buttigieg said the Biden administration worked hard to bring the investment to Indiana and other states.
“The political obituary of the bipartisan infrastructure law must have been written a half a dozen times before it actually passed,” he said.
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler joined Buttigieg for the tour of the training facility and said there’s more support for trade work and unions.
“I'm hearing the same things – I'm hearing ‘I need to make more money. I need a stable job. I'm one, you know, bad break away, whether it's a car repair and unpaid sick day away from not making my rent. I wish I had more power over my life and my future’,” Shuler said.
The Sheet Metal shop currently has its highest-ever number of apprentices. Democratic U.S. Rep. Andre Carson said the jobs created by the law will benefit the Hoosier state.
“It's about keeping good paying, steady and plentiful jobs where they belong right here in Indiana,” Carson said.
Buttigieg also met with Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett to highlight new federal funding that will help the city convert roads to 2-way streets, improve sidewalks and trails. Money for a study of plans for the I-65/70 South Split was also highlighted. That project seeks to reconnect neighborhoods that were fractured when the highway was first completed.
Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at firstname.lastname@example.org.