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Why Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is coming to Salt Lake City

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg arrives for an event to celebrate Pride Month in the White House.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg arrives for an event with President Joe Biden to celebrate Pride Month in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Washington.

Patrick Semansky, Associated Press

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg will be in Salt Lake City on Friday to talk with state leaders about the recently passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, possibly unveiling new projects funded under the package, his office says.

The secretary will start his day meeting with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox to give an update on infrastructure projects. According to a news release, Buttigieg plans to announce funding for new projects “for all 50 states thanks to the president’s bipartisan infrastructure law.”

“The investments will help communities prepare for and mitigate extreme weather events fueled by climate change,” the statement reads.

Buttigieg will then meet with Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson — who endorsed Buttigieg during his 2020 presidential campaign — and other local officials for a roundtable to discuss transit-based solutions to wildfire mitigation.

Utah has seen three major wildfires this season, with a fourth, the Dodge Springs Fire, burning along the Nevada border. Buttigieg is expected to talk about how infrastructure investments can help evacuation routes and community safety.

Buttigieg, a former military officer and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was appointed to his Cabinet position in February 2021. He is the first openly gay Cabinet secretary in U.S. history, and the youngest Cabinet member in the Biden administration.

Salt Lake City is Buttigieg’s latest stop in the Mountain West, after he was in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, discussing the country’s transportation system and infrastructure during a Western Governors Association event.