Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is excited about building stuff. That's the message he sent during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."It's important not to be too subtle about the message," Buttigieg said, responding to a joke about the size of a ceremonial check he recently presented to a community in New Hampshire.The U.S.
Department of Transportation awarded a $19.5 million grant to a Berlin, N.H., project to pipe excess heat from the Burgess Biopower plant under streets and sidewalks to eliminate snow removal in downtown Berlin.The former South Bend, Ind., mayor explained that as the former chief executive of a city, he understands the excitement that comes with innovative infrastructure projects."Any mayor from north of a certain latitude knows the battle of mayors versus snow is second only to the battle of mayors versus potholes," Buttigieg said, evoking a chuckle from the audience. "Now I get to be someone who's helping mayors across the country — like I used to be — deal with something like that."Buttigieg said it was "striking" that many Republican lawmakers went to the floor of the House or Senate and voted down infrastructure funding but then turned around and claimed responsibility for the improvements when returning to their home regions."There's nothing better than seeing a skeptic become a convert," Buttigieg continued. "I call it the sincerest form of flattery if somebody was against your policy, and then when it's actually benefiting people who live in their communities, they can't hug it close enough."Buttigieg noted that regardless of the hypocrisy, officials shouldn't punish communities because their representative rejected the funding in Congress.He says it's "frustrating".