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VIDEO: At Commerce Hearing with Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, Peters Highlights Need to Support Current Workforce, Create Jobs for Americans Through Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles

Michigan Business Network
May 10, 2022 10:00 AM

S. Gary Peters

Hearing Comes After Peters Recently Led Colleagues in Urging Secretary Buttigieg to Develop a Federal Framework to Deploy AVs With Focus on Supporting Transportation Workforce While Producing New, Good-Paying American Jobs

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) – a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports – highlighted the need to ensure federal efforts to develop and deploy autonomous vehicle technologies will create good-paying jobs, including union jobs, for American workers – as well as support the current transportation sector workforce as we transition to autonomous mobility – at a hearing with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. This comes after Peters recently led a letter with his Senate colleagues to Secretary Buttigieg, highlighting how autonomous vehicles have the potential to not only create good-paying American jobs and support existing ones, but also to save lives and ensure the United States will continue leading in the future of mobility. In his response to Peters, Buttigieg agreed there is economic opportunity in the deployment of autonomous vehicles and echoed that a federal framework is needed to execute the transition safely and in a way that benefits American workers.

“The fact of the matter is that one day – I think we all know that cars will be both electric and they will be autonomous as well,” said Senator Peters. “There are really only two open questions… will those cars be made here in America with good-paying jobs, including good-paying union jobs? And second, will we enact policies today that will achieve the best outcomes for workers and the economy and society tomorrow?”

“History has taught us that technological change is inevitable,” Peters continued. “While that has produced benefits for society, there’s plenty of examples unfortunately of workers getting left behind as this technology moves forward. I believe we can seize the moment to mold a new pattern – because good jobs and innovation, in my mind, do not have to be mutually exclusive.”

Secretary Buttigieg responded, “We very much agree, and like you, are interested in making sure that this transition, whether we’re talking about electric or automated, is principally made in America – that it creates more opportunity. And it can, but we need to provide the right kind of policy framework.” 

To watch Peters’ exchange with Secretary Buttigieg, click here.

As Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Peters has repeatedly highlighted how autonomous vehicles present an opportunity to expand domestic manufacturing and create new jobs while supporting existing transportation jobsin addition to fostering American innovation. In his field hearing in Detroit this March, Peters examined how Congress can bolster U.S. innovation for electric and autonomous vehicles by increasing domestic production of semiconductor chips and other technologies, while also delivering economic, environmental, and safety benefits for the American people.


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