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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Andy Kim discuss infrastructure funding in Burlington County. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

Buttigieg joins Kim to highlight federal infrastructure spending

Transportation secretary held events yesterday with Malinowski, Payne, Sherrill, Gottheimer

By Joey Fox, May 27 2022 11:34 am

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg joined Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) this morning to showcase an upcoming infrastructure project on Route 206, closing out his New Jersey visit following events yesterday with Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark), and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair).

“What we see here is the chance to show, on the ground, what all of this infrastructure work is actually going to lead to,” Buttigieg said today from a booth in Springfield’s Pandora Diner. “To be on the ground here in New Jersey, seeing what it means to the people who count on us, really reminds us why we’re doing this in the first place, and it helps me make the case for us to keep these dollars moving smoothly and promptly.”

Buttigieg and Kim, who have been friends for decades after studying together as Rhodes Scholars, both highlighted the role that funding from last year’s bipartisan infrastructure bill will have. Within a few weeks, Kim said, some of that money will be put to work fixing an odd and potentially dangerous intersection between Route 206 and County Route 537.

“You can draw a direct connection between what we passed in Congress in a bipartisan way, and what’s going to be fixed in the community,” Kim said “Just in a couple of weeks or so, we should be breaking ground here, and that’s the kind of progress that people want to see.”

Buttigieg’s congressional visits yesterday were similarly focused on existing and prospective transportation infrastructure funding in New Jersey. Malinowski pushed for funding to make NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley line run more smoothly; Gottheimer toured the Port of Newark and discussed solutions for the supply chain crisis; Sherrill held a town hall at the County College of Morris; and Payne hosted a roundtable on federal contracts with minority-owned business.

Notably, all five of the congressmembers who met with Buttigieg face potentially competitive bids for re-election, Payne in a primary and the other four in the general election. As Democrats prepare for a potentially bruising midterm, many are running heavily on the infrastructure bill that they helped pass, and Buttigieg’s visit reinforces that message.

“Right here in New Jersey, infrastructure’s our lifeblood,” Kim said today. “It’s important for people just to see that the government’s going to deliver for their needs and deliver to their towns… I know it certainly makes me proud to have played a role in being able to get these shovels in the ground.”

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