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Buttigieg, city officials celebrate Indianapolis infrastructure funding

Buttigieg touts infrastructure law impacts

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — U.S. Secretary of Transportation and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Thursday said simple changes to the city’s streets will make them much safer.

Buttigieg joined Mayor Joe Hogsett and Congressman Andre Carson to celebrate a $25 million grant the city received earlier this summer to convert eight one-way streets to two-way streets. The grant came from funding provided by last year’s infrastructure law. Buttigieg and City-County Council President Vop Osili said reducing one-way streets will make them safer for drivers, walkers and bicyclists. In an interview with News 8, Buttigieg said the combination of economic and safety benefits is what helped Indianapolis win the grant.

“When you make these good public policy choices around how your streets work, the private sector follows with investment,” said Buttigieg. “We saw that when I was mayor in South Bend, and I think we will see that here in Indianapolis.”

Buttigieg said getting rid of one-way streets will lead to fewer crashes and allow streets to carry traffic into, not merely through, neighborhoods. He said this will help bring more customers to local businesses.

Earlier in the day, Buttigieg, along with Carson and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, visited the Sheet Metal Workers Local 20 training center on 45th street. Union leaders told them the demand for workers created by infrastructure law projects has led to record numbers of people enrolling in the union’s apprenticeship programs. Shuler said the infrastructure law has led to trillions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure projects for a host of skilled union trades. She said union labor is especially well-positioned to benefit from the law because unions provide paid apprenticeships for prospective workers as well as ongoing training for the existing workforce.

“This administration, President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Buttigieg, so many others, got it done,” said Shuler. “And so now, it is on us to make sure that every single one of these jobs, these new jobs coming, is a good union job.”

The city also received a $2 million grant this summer to study whether to turn the inner loop on Interstate 65/70 into a recessed highway. Buttigieg told News 8 the highway needlessly divided the neighborhood. He said even going through process of planning such a project can bring a community together and make it stronger if residents are involved.