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USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg Takes a Ride on Brightline

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (center)
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (center)

West Palm Beach - Tuesday October 18, 2023: U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took a ride on Brightline Monday during a visit to south Florida to highlight the federal government's efforts to fund improvements to the nation's transportation infrastructure, made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Buttigieg rode a Brightline train from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale, accompanied by Brightline Founder Wes Edens, CEO Mike Reininger, and President Patrick Goddard.

“Transportation is such an important part of our daily routines," said Secretary Buttigieg following the ride. "This is a bright area of America moving forward for high-speed rail. We should have the best rail in the world, and there is no cosmic reason why a US citizen can’t have access to high-speed rail like those found in countries like Japan and Germany.”

When asked by reporters about Brightline's reputation as the deadliest rail service in the nation, Buttigieg said "a lot of the issue has to do with incursions on the track from pedestrians or vehicles," and "we're putting our money where our mouth is with federal dollars going to physical infrastructure improvements that are going to help with safety,"

Brightline President Patrick Goddard said he was "delighted" to welcome Secretary Buttigieg. "We’ve had a meaningful partnership with USDOT and the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) and today’s visit highlights the strength of that relationship,” he said.

Brightline launched operations in South Florida in 2018, connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, with stations in Boca Raton and Aventura which opened last year.

Construction on the 170-mile extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando began in 2019 and opened for service on September 22 of this year.