TAMPA, Fla. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will visit Tampa on Tuesday to promote a $12.6 million federal grant to Port Tampa Bay.
According to Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay’s CEO and president, the funding will go toward the construction of Berth 301, a new docking location at the port’s satellite facility, Port Redwing. Berth 301 will add room for handling a third large cargo ship at the site.
Ironically, as he celebrates the growth of Tampa’s port, and presumably its ability to welcome more traffic, Buttigieg still has offered little to fix the shipping supply-chain crisis that has gripped the nation for more than a year.
As CNBC reported earlier this month, “Port productivity remains a huge hurdle for the U.S. supply chain as billions of dollars of products are at anchor or landlocked, and a shift to use of East Coast ports over West Coast ports creates new pressures.”
In short, the long-running bottleneck at West Coast ports led shippers from the Far East, primarily China, to send vessels to the East Coast. In addition to being a longer trip, the increased traffic has clogged Atlantic Coast ports. Last month, CNBC reported $30 billion in goods floated offshore on both coasts waiting to be unloaded, creating shortages and fueling inflation.
Now, according to the outlet, railroad workers are mulling a strike, which would stymie the flow of goods from ports into the heart of the country.
Yet Buttigieg on Tuesday will stand alongside Tampa’s Democratic Mayor Jane Castor, and Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor, also of Tampa, and declare President Joe Biden’s transportation agenda a success.
It’s not the first time Buttigieg has shown that he, like most of Biden’s cabinet, has no connection to middle America.
Not long ago, Buttigieg, who is gay, was lamenting how same-sex marriages might be threatened by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June.
Yet Buttigieg last year had the luxury of taking off for two months for paternity leave as the supply-chain crisis raged – and no one even knew he was gone.
Last month, Buttigieg was criticized for arguing Americans fed up by perpetually high gas prices under Biden should buy an electric car – the average price of which runs $66,000. He said he was actually “astonished” that more people weren’t going that route.
GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said Buttigieg’s comments demonstrated how he and other Washington-based liberals are “completely out of touch with what normal people are going through.”
But even EV owners are not out of reach of Buttigieg’s hunger for more taxes. Last year he called for a “mileage tax” on drivers, a levy based on how many miles people drive. One reason was to help capture the miles logged by EV owners, since Buttigieg said he believed the tax on gas was outdated.
Buttigieg, like Reps. Castor and Charlie Crist, another Tampa Bay-area Democrat who will learn on Tuesday if he will challenge Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in November, supported Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which not offers massively expensive green energy subsidies, it raises taxes on almost all Americans, creates an army of IRS agents to go after them and does nothing to drive down inflation.
In response to Buttigieg’s visit to Tampa, Republican National Committee spokeswoman Julia Friedland told The Free Press, “Tampa doesn’t want to hear a sales pitch for an unaffordable electric vehicle from Biden Bureaucrat Buttigieg. They want to know why Democrats like Charlie Crist and Kathy Castor voted to raise taxes during a recession.”
Any views or opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Free Press.