Buttigieg visits Lowcountry to highlight transit investments
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg toured Lowcountry infrastructure during a visit to the Charleston area Wednesday afternoon.
Buttigieg visited Charleston International Airport, where he hosted meetings with community members and leaders.
He also visited CARTA in North Charleston and the Wando Welch Port.
At a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Buttigieg, joined by U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, highlighted infrastructure work underway in the Lowcountry.
Buttigieg touted the Lowcountry Rapid Transit project, a rapid transit bus route stretching from Ladson to the peninsula that received approval from the federal government back in August. CARTA says they currently have 31 electric buses for the project with the hope of getting 80 more down the line, according to CARTA Chairman Mike Seekings.
“We had a focus on the Lowcountry Rapid Transit vision and your way of getting between Charleston, North Charleston and Summerville where buses have dedicated lanes for much of the route and transit signal priority technology so the riders can move quickly and reliably, with clean primarily electric buses that will be available every 10 minutes most of the day,” Buttigieg said.
A project like this, according to Buttigieg, is a benefit to many people.
“It brings benefits in terms of equity, connecting people in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods historically excluded from the best transportation opportunity, now included in access to jobs and opportunities across the region,” he said.
Officials hope to break ground on the Lowcountry Rapid Transit project in the next two years and complete the line in 2028. The federal government is prepared to give the project nearly $800 million, according to Buttigieg.
After the conference, Buttigieg was asked if the White House’s goal of having 50% of car sales be electric vehicles by 2030 is realistic for South Carolina. He said it is very important to hit those goals.
“This is where the automotive industry is already heading, but we have to make sure we do it quickly enough that it’s the U.S. and not china or some other country leading the way,” he said. “The legislation that has been passed is going to make that possible.”
A stream of the entire conference can be found below:
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