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Q&A: Pete Buttigieg has Eisenhower, Lincoln and buses on his mind


Pete Buttigieg: It’s an interesting way to think of it. I would think of Eisenhower. I would think Lincoln. The other major national infrastructure achievement that is on par with Eisenhower was Lincoln and establishing the nationwide train network. That really matured thanks to his efforts. And so about 100 years later, when it was time for the interstate highway system, it didn’t abolish the train, but it recognized that there was going to be a much more important role for vehicle transportation. Now, we’re actually the better part of the century on from the Eisenhower years and we’re recognizing a new reality, which is that policy shouldn’t revolve around the vehicle, it should revolve around the human being. Sometimes that human being is in a car, sometimes on a train, sometimes on foot or two wheels, sometimes flying — and all of that needs to be incorporated into our vision. There was a period when we didn’t know any better, when we thought that if you had a congested road, you just made it bigger. And it turns out that sometimes that works, sometimes that just gets more people to drive and the road gets that much more congested. So we’ve gotten a lot smarter, through experience, as a country. And of course, technology has developed and shifted, especially when you add electrification and automation. Those will ultimately add up to changes that are putting no less distance between us and the ’50s than there was between the ’50s and the Lincoln era.

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