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Remarks at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe – Inland Transport Committee
As Delivered by Secretary Pete Buttigieg, United States Secretary of Transportation
February 21, 2023

Remarks at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe – Inland Transport Committee

As Delivered Virtually by Secretary Pete Buttigieg, United States Secretary of Transportation

Thank you for that introduction, and I want to thank all of the distinguished leaders here today for this very important gathering.

I’m pleased to join you to discuss the role of transportation in fighting climate change and expanding economic opportunity – goals that we can realize through the continued partnership of this international community.

The United States and our allies around the world are united, not just in this effort, but in our support for Ukraine, as Russia’s brutal invasion of its sovereign neighbor nears its one-year anniversary.

We will continue to hold the Russian Federation accountable, and work to deter its aggression. And the role of this Committee and it its members will be particularly important when it comes to rebuilding Ukrainian transportation systems—recognizing that good infrastructure is foundational to the stability of economies and democracies.

Climate is not only a key consideration in our transportation work but a cornerstone of the Biden-Harris Administration’s entire economic vision. Since taking office, President Biden has presided over the creation of over 800,000 manufacturing jobs, including thousands of jobs building electric vehicles and the chargers that power them. The electric vehicle revolution is already well underway, and it is impossible to deny that EVs are a new front in the global competition for the future of manufacturing.

If the U.S. and its allies want to succeed in that competition and secure good-paying jobs in our countries, we must lead the way, which is why our Department of Transportation is working to deploy a network of half a million EV chargers nationwide.

Today, every economic decision we make is also a decision about our climate. And every climate investment that we make carries real economic benefits. The new fuel efficiency standards we announced last year will not only serve to reduce emissions – they will accelerate the electric vehicle revolution and help create a new generation of auto manufacturing jobs.

The work that we’re doing to advance the purchase of zero-emission buses and expand public transit systems will help more people to access jobs, schools, and hospitals, promoting local economic development. And by working to ensure that 40% of the benefits from our climate investments go to historically underserved and disadvantaged communities, we are helping them to better support their families, participate in their local economies, and reach their full potential.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the U.S. is delivering on both the economic promises that we have made to the American people, and the climate commitments that we have made to our allies. But we know we cannot meet this moment alone. We have to continue working with our partners around the world and learning from one another — just as we have learned valuable lessons about reducing traffic deaths from the experience and expertise of countries like Sweden, Switzerland, and many others who have helped to lead the way.

Indeed, under this Administration, we have embraced a “safe system” approach to traffic safety through our National Roadway Safety Strategy, modeled after many of the strategies pioneered by our international counterparts.

Whatever the global challenge, we are always stronger when we face it together – when we share our wisdom and stand by our allies, united by our shared values. Meeting this moment will require a level of international cooperation never before seen in human history. But it’s through convenings like this, in which we come together, learn from one another, and renew our commitments that we forge a path forward towards future success. Thank you.