EAST LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a resident of Traverse City, headed south to Monroe where he shared federal investments to transportation infrastructure in Michigan and the surrounding area. 

“Everybody around the country is familiar with the east and west coasts and their shipping capacities,” said Sec. Buttigieg in Monroe, “The shipping and logistics potential of the Midwest is no less important to this country. 

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Last year the Port of Monroe was awarded $11,051,586 through the Port Infrastructure Development Program, which was designed to aid in riverfront work, turning basin work, maritime readiness slip construction and shore power infrastructure according to the Monroe News.  The city also received a $24 million grant to construct an underpass to cut down train delays. 

The visit to southeast Michigan came on the heels of the Biden Administration’s two year anniversary of the Infrastructure Law, $17 billion of which was diverted to upgrade ports and waterways. 

“The Department of Transportation and Army Corps of Engineers have together funded 445 port and waterway projects to strengthen supply chain reliability, speed up the movement of goods, reduce costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the administration.

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Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) also highlighted the visit on social media. 

“We’ve been working hard to bring critical infrastructure investments to our state that support our manufacturers, strengthen our supply chains, and make our roads and bridges safer,” she said on X (formerly Twitter). 

Following the Monroe visit, Michigan State University hosted Sec. Buttigieg as the guest of honor for Jim Blanchard at the school’s Public Service Forum. 

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“I’m not going to claim that Secretary Pete has had a legendary career, yet,” said former Gov. Blanchard. “Or I’m not going to claim he’s some sort of icon, but I think it’s true that he’s had a fascinating career in public service and I believe he will have a gifted career going forward.” 

As he addressed the audience, many of which were students of MSU, Sec. Buttigieg emphasized the importance of “being part of something bigger than ourselves across time.” 

“What I mean by that is laying foundations for things that might take years, or decades, or generations to deliver,” he said. 

Some of the largest projects that are underway, Sec. Buttigieg refers to as the “Cathedrals of our Infrastructure”, which he contended requires a certain understanding about a project’s timeline. 

“When I call them cathedrals it’s not just because it’s a poetic way to describe something that’s large and expensive to build, its because things like that require great faith in the future to work on them today,” he added, “You can only work on it if you’re content with the fact that it might not get done on your watch.”

During the event, protestors emerged from the audience shouting “Stop Petrol Pete” before officers removed them from the premises, arresting at least one man.  A crowd of protesters gathered outside, shouting for the duration of the event.