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MLA Full: "Three Whole Onions with Secretary Pete Buttigieg." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 10 May 2024,
MLA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2024)
APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2024, May 10). Three Whole Onions with Secretary Pete Buttigieg [Video]. YouTube.
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Chicago Full: vlogbrothers, "Three Whole Onions with Secretary Pete Buttigieg.", May 10, 2024, YouTube, 26:00,
Pete Buttigieg is the Secretary of Transportation, which means that he is in charge of the 55,000 person U.S. Department of Transportation. They do a lot of stuff....we get into some of that stuff here now. You will probably not be surprised to find that I quite liked Pete, he's a big ol' nerd and is very focused on understanding people's problems and systems to help people rather than what rhetoric we happen to use to get there. That might be great for a national politician but it is very good for someone who is just in there getting work done.

I made this video in a weird way (and it was not what the Pete team, like, /agreed/ hopefully they don't seemed the proper way.)

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Pete: Good morning, John.

Hank: This is weird  A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from the   Department of Transportation being like, The Secretary   is going to be in Missoula celebrating the opening of  your amazingly dope new airport. And since you're also going to be in Missoula,  maybe you'd like to do a vlog together. They didn't use the word vlog.  And I said yes. And I said,   the thing that I want to do is, could he ask me questions?  And then I'll ask him questions.

It'll be like a dual interview.  And they liked that. And so that's what we did.  And as I was editing it, I realized that there are   things I wanted to go deeper on. So we will pull out sometimes  for a little interstitial bits to explain things further.  And now you know all the things.

So let's get started. I have so many questions. I'm going to start with, what's the lapel pen?  Oh, this is our D.

O. T.-- I think it's called a tri-scallion.

Hank: Three whole onions. Well, that's a thing I said. The Department of Transportation,  Triskelion represents the three different areas that we transport in the water,  the sky, and the ground.

Hank: I have a very large pin collection. 

Pete: Oh, well, yeah, here, I'm sure we can--

Hank: I have presents for you so we can trade.  In exchange--

Pete: Great. I'll take it. 

Hank: Vintage, real life, vintage Garfield.

Pete: Really nice. I have a snoopy that   this would actually be perfect right next to. Well, it's been great doing business with you.

Hank: Yeah, it's very transactional with   the government, isn't it?

Pete: Yeah, well it can be.

Hank: I'm confused about a lot of things that I think people should know.  Like, for example, who owns the airport?

Pete: It depends.  But it's usually the city or the county.

Hank: Ok.

Pete: One is who pays for the airport. So part of that is the local government, part of its passenger facility charges.  It's one of the many. You know, you buy a ticket,  there's the airfare, and then there's a whole bunch of charges  that go with it. One of those goes toward funding the airport.

Hank: I just looked this up. I thought that it would be,  like a fairly large number and it would be like a percentage of the ticket price.  But no, to, like, be a passenger at an airport, it costs money.  You like, there's like an entrance fee, basically. And at almost every airport in the US,   it is $4.50. The airport has a $4.50 cover.  Sometimes the airlines will  just invest in an airport,  especially one where they have a big presence.

And then part of it's what I'm actually doing. In Missoula today was celebrating the  Biden Harris administration putting  federal funds into the airport.

Hank: Thank you. The airport is very nice now.

Pete: It's lovely.

Hank: Yeah, I'm really impressed.  But the other thing I would say is this is actually becoming politically salient  because there are a lot of places, notably in The South,  where states are pressing to  take more control of airports,  which are currently under control, under local control.  We officially are. We don't have a direct role in that,  but sometimes we're concerned about what's going on with some of those dynamics  and whether that will lead to the airport continuing to operate well.

Hank: So I looked into this, and there are some big airports in The South  that the states are trying to take control of. And I was like, what is that about?  But these are places where the state government tends to be very conservative,   and the city government, where there are big cities,  thus where there are big airports, tends to be more progressive  or liberal or democrat or whatever. And as you might expect,  these groups have tension in various ways. And so the states have been trying to take over  the airport from the city, which I agree is troubling.  So it is important who owns the airport or who operates it.  And usually it's in local hands.

I just feel like the airport works really well.  You know, obviously we think about the times when it doesn't work really well,  but I feel like usually I'm like, this is a lot of complicated things. I have no idea how it happens. It just happens.

Pete: Well, that's how it's supposed to work.

Hank: Right. 

Pete: We're trying to make sure  it's like that more of the time.  Right? Because the problem is, of course, if any one of those things doesn't work  and you got a lot of airports-- most of our airports actually were built pre 911. 

Hank: Yeah, mmhmm

Pete: So just the whole architecture,  just the security checkpoints alone. Right. And how you would set it up  has to be different now than it was when they set these up. And there are a whole bunch of other things, much of which we're now funding  the replacement of from the geometry of a taxiway and whether you can have it set up  so that an airplane never even has to cross the path of another airplane.

Hank: Oh, so you saw my brain  light up there for a second  because I had never thought about how you have to design taxiways to make it   more efficient and also safer, and that there are different ways to do it. And an end around taxiway  has a plane travel farther,  but it actually speeds things  up for everyone involved  because there is less waiting for planes to cross. Things like planes crashing into each other  on the ground is a very big  deal and a very big concern. So, like, if you have a plane  landing, they can't, like, stop.  They're going plane speed, and you have a plane crossing,  and those two planes crash into each other, you get two plane crashes at once.

We, of course, have lots of ways  to stop this from happening,  but it has happened before, so making it impossible to happen is good.  But additionally, it means that  more planes can land faster,  and planes don't have to, like,  sit there waiting for planes to land before they can get to the terminal. That sounds like a good idea.

Pete: Yeah, it's a very good idea.  Doing it after the fact can be expensive.

Hank: Do you have a question for me?

Pete: Tons. Yeah. Well, so I'm told your origin story  partly goes back to a rant about I-4.  So I wanna--

Hank: Oh, wow, yeah  The Buttigieg's team's doing its research. In 2002, I had a blog called I hate,  which is about the interstate in Orlando and how much people dislike it  and how we could do it better. Wow.  And so I figured I could make a website about that and people would look at it,  which is all I wanted at the time, just people looking at me.

Pete: A lot of politicians  get started the same way.

Hank: Did you want people to  look at you when you were young?  Were you like--

Pete: Actually, no. When I was young,   I wanted to be an airline pilot.

Hank: You look right now. I'm sorry.   Like an airline pilot.

Pete: Oh, thank you. 

Hank: Another thing I said. Oh, my God. I mean, I have plenty   of transportation rants. Still parking. 

Pete: Yeah.

Hank: Pete, why do we have so much parking?

Pete: Because we have so many cars.

Hank: I think when people set  parking minimums as a municipality,  they don't think about the costs of that.

Pete: Yes. 

Hank: They don't think about  how much space that's taking up,  how much it's taking away from bike lanes,  how much it's taking away  from other built environment. When you're setting it for neighborhoods,  you don't have to think about how much space it's taking away from homes.

Pete: No. Having been a mayor and having seen so many great visions for land use,  basically die on the altar  of a parking requirement. I've lived this, and you see a lot of cities and communities now moving on from that.  By the way, to me, the second most exciting thing  about the potential for automated  vehicles has to do with this. The most exciting thing is the  potential for safety payments.  Human drivers were losing  about 40,000 people a year,  which is the same as gun violence, with much less attention.

So if they can get the technology right, the safety win is the most important thing. But maybe the second most important thing is think about how land use changes  if more of our vehicles just come and get us and then park themselves out in the county  at three in the morning and  then wake themselves back up. That's very different from a scenario where we have to allocate so much of our land  from our homes to our  commercial spaces to parking.

Hank: This is a great conversation, but I don't know if I buy this  unless it's an entirely new community and built an entirely different way.  I feel like people want to have  their car waiting for them.  I don't feel like they want to hit a button and have it be there 20 minutes later.  We're too spoiled for that world. I don't know, though, what a   city that's actually designed for the world that we want now  and with the technology that we have now actually looks like.  But it's hard to build a new city, turns out really frickin hard to build a new city.

Pete: And as many cities have found out, even with today's cars driven by people,  you don't need as much parking  as you thought you did.  Here's a question that you can settle the debate.  Zipper merges. Should you merge  early so that everybody's.  Or should you just go to the end and then merge at the last moment?

Pete: This is not an official policy.

Hank: This is an official policy position   of the federal government.

Pete: I have been told   by people smarter than me about this stuff that you just.  You go for it and work it out at the.

Hank: You work it out at the-- 

Pete: At the point.

Hank: Yeah, I agree. Gas stations seem a lot more reliable than chargers right now. Why?

Pete: Because we're newer at this. When it comes to chargers,  one of the things we put in the federal standards  for the chargers that we're funding across the country is an uptime standard. 97% to start, and then we really  want it to go up from there  because yeah, I mean, in the same way that when you   go to the gas station, you know-- 

Hank: it's unusual to see the pump with the bag on it.

Pete: Yeah. Sometimes you see.  But you're not expecting to run into that.

Hank: Yeah. Had to look into this.  $7.5 billion approved as part  of the infrastructure bill  to build tens of thousands  of chargers across the US.  That was a couple of years ago, and basically none have been built.  And in part, it is because of the standards that they would like them to meet. They have to have 97% uptime, which is way higher than average. They have to be within a mile of the interstate.

They have to have at least 150 charging at   each charger, which a lot.  But a lot of Tesla chargers  have even more than that.  And it's just like government, you know, it's like the state has to submit a   proposal to the administration, and it slows everything way down. They think that it's going to pick up in 2024,  but basically none of that money has been spent and none of those chargers have been built. Let's hope that it happens, though.

On the other hand,  one thing you can't do is fill  up your car with gas at home,  which a lot of people, if they  have a single family home,  will be able to do charges. So nice. Also, not going to the gas station has resulted in better dietary decisions for me.

Pete: A lot of gas station coffee and chips  have gone through my system,  so I know what you mean. What's your favorite thing that rolls on the hot rolly thing at a gas station?  You know what I'm talking about?

Pete: I mean, they're all just   variations on the universal  hot dog taco pizza, right? 

Hank: Yeah.

Pete: Which is kind of   just like, morphing into different--

Hank: various cylindrical hot foods.  You have a favorite, or are you one of the elites?

Pete: I stick with things that   are coming in bags, so.

Hank: Okay. You're bag, man. 

Pete: so, beef jerky--

Hank: That's a beef jerky drawer right there  if you want some, man.

Pete: Yeah.  Yeah. How's your collection? And that's actually mushroom jerky. So now I'm one of the elites,  I feel it necessary to say  that mushroom jerky is among.  I have so many jerkies in here.

There's also beef jerky,  and there is salmon jerky, and there are turkey sticks,  and there's also fruit jerky, kinda like, these are just, like, little   dehydrated fruit packets. And now that I've done that,  I feel like I haven't defended myself. And this is worse.  Are we getting there with.

Not with beef turkey, but with car chargers.

Pete: If we were as far into  Ev's as were in gas cars  around the time of model T They're good. 

Hank: Yeah

Pete: but think about how   much better they're gonna get. The charging network  we have now is not the charging  network we're gonna need.  It's why President Biden set a goal of 500,000 by the end of this decade. Look, a lot of them the market will do, but a lot of them the market won't do. 

Hank: Right

Pete: That's why we're federally funding the rest. Especially apartment buildings, lower income areas where it's not profitable today  for some company to do it. Those are some of the places you most  want to make sure there's charging. One thing that has become very clear to me  as a person who owns an electric  car is that it really works.  If you have a plug, you can plug it into it.  My commute isn't even long enough that I need a special charger.  I just plug it into a regular outlet.

So I looked this up.  This $623 million for chargers from the Department of Transportation. Half of it is going to convenient locations for chargers for people who   live in multifamily housing, like, for example, at the multifamily housing. This is a different pot of  money than the $7.5 billion  for fast chargers I was  talking about a second ago.  These are actually much easier things to install if they are designed for people to park.  You don't have to try to  charge the car super fast.

The car's probably gonna  be sitting there for, like,  10 hours overnight, and you  can tie reliability too far.

Pete: Yeah, that's the other thing we can say. They gotta be reliable.  Also, they gotta be interoperable and transparent when it comes to pricing,  which is something else we're used to on gas, not always seeing on the electric.

Hank: True. There's a big   sign that says how much the gas costs, and I've never seen that at a charger.

Pete: Do you have a favorite  mode of transportation?  Favorite mode of transport-- Have you ever been on a jet ski? 

Pete: No.

Hank: Oh, my God. 

Pete: I'm pretty sure I would get hurt. No. You're a very safe person. I can tell.  You don't have to be crazy  on a jet ski.

It's fun. Just. 

Pete: It's just crazy in principle, isn't it? I just. It seems to me like it would end in tears.  A perfectly good boat. Why would I get out of the boat? 

Hank: Oh, my God. A jet ski is very fun, Pete Buttigieg 

Pete: I believe you. Is that transportation, though?

Hank: You can go from one place to another? I'm a big fan of walking,  but I did just get an e bike--

Pete: Ahh 

Hank: And it is so fun, and I  can put my son on the back of it.  There could be a big hill, and I'm carrying around 55   pounds of dead weight back there. I love him, but he's heavy.  Just get up the hill. No problem.  Otherwise, I'd have to,  like, stop and walk him up,  because I don't have quads like that.

Pete: This is really good,  especially for kind of bicycle commuting. It really expands the range,  distance and the range of people who might decide that's the right answer for them.  That's why it's big. You know,   the more bicycle commuting oriented cities of the world are kind of way ahead on this. We're seeing it more and more in the US.

Hank: All right, what do you got?  You got another question for me?

Pete: Yeah, this is a bit more earnest, but, you know, you've inspired a lot of people  with talking about your experience with cancer. What can the policy world,  what can Washington do better to support people living with and surviving cancer?

Hank: Where are we on universal healthcare?

Pete: Ehhh, working on it.

Hank: Are they? Are they? It is true that when Pete ran for president,  he did want what's called the  Medicare for all who want it plan,  which I think is. That sounds great.  I'd love a Medicare for all who want it because it doesn't seem like   we're going to get rid of private insurance in the US.  But of course, this is the  secretary of transportation,  so not the kind of guy who  has the power to sort of  unilaterally change the  healthcare situation in the US.  I think that would be a big one.

So I had, like, the double   benefit of having a cheap cancer, which do exist. I did not realize, but,   like, the most expensive part of my cancer was scans. And then I had the other  advantage of having a situation,  you know, where I had both with work, I had flexibility, and also with like,  support systems in general and the amount of money in my bank account,  I didn't have to worry about that stuff.

And I think about that all the time. I know that there are systems in place.  There's like FMLA family  leave, medical act something.  Is that right?

Pete: Yeah. 

Hank: That are there for people. But I know from talking   to people who have had kids go through serious health problems,   it's complicated.

Pete: Yeah. 

Hank: I don't know how to make it simpler,  but it seems like it could be simple.

Pete: Yes. After I said all of that, I, you know, I kind of talk it out of my butt.  And Joe Biden has this thing  called the Cancer Moonshot.  And I assume that this was all about research,  but, like, it's partially about research, but it is also about this very thing. There is a thing under the  Department of Labor says the DOL  created new resources to help  workers living with cancer,  their caregivers and cancer survivors understand and make use of their rights  under the Family and Medical Leave Act. So I'm sure that it remains annoying to deal with, but the very thing that I brought   up is a thing that exists.

You know, you're talking about the cost of it. I think about my mother in law, who has kind of skin cancer,  that the chemotherapy is topical. It looks like a tube of toothpaste, but it's thousands of dollars   a tube.

Hank: Yeah 

Pete: And they have a landscaping kind of mom and pop operation.  But the Affordable Care Act is why she's able to afford that treatment. So we definitely have a  long way to go as a country.  I think, as you know, The  President cares a lot about this,  but I'm also just really glad we have that. In terms of the ACA

Hank: Roads seem to be made of a bunch of different stuff.  Highways seem to be made of  stuff that lasts forever.  They never have to fix the highways.

Pete: Hmm... 

Hank: (laughing)

Pete: I'm fixing a lot of highways right now. 

Hank: But it takes like, three years before the potholes accumulate on my neighborhood streets. Why not make my street out of  the stuff that lasts so long?

Pete: The short answer is cost. I'm fixing a lot of highways now.  Back when I was mayor, I filled a lot of potholes. Like, literally one year,   I think we did 50,000 potholes. But we are actually working on this.  If you go next to the CIA headquarters, there is a slightly, but in my opinion,  only slightly less glamorous government facility, which is the Turner Fairbanks facility,  run by our federal highway Administration, which is part of our department.

Hank: I tried to find out a little bit more about the highway research center,  but there just actually  wasn't that much information.  I can tell you, however, that it has six Google reviews,  all five stars. And Jerome O'Connor says  each lab is a first class operation. And, I mean, I have no reason to question him.

Pete: If you happen to be flying over it, which sometimes is on the flight path.  If you're landing at DCA, you will notice in a parking lot what looks like  ten or twelve almost identical  little strips of road. They look the same from the top. If you looked at a cross section of it  would look like a layer cake. Paving isn't just asphalt on dirt.  Right there's gravel.

Hank: Everyone knows that.

Pete: They did it, like,   twelve different ways, okay? With different combinations  and different thicknesses of  the different and different.  And in the middle of it, I have one on my desk.  It looks like it's part of the gravel, only it's red because it's not real gravel.  It's a piece of plastic with a little chip inside that beams back data.  And we have hundreds of these. Yeah. Spread across the layers of these dozen or so different strips of road.  And they drive back and forth over hundreds or thousands of times,  and also just let it sit in  the elements for a while.

And they're taking readings on exactly which one is doing better,  under which conditions, so that we can optimize  the next generation of paving material. There's also some market failures in here.  So one of the issues is the pressure  that a mayor or a local or  state government is under. To cover as much as they can as quickly as they can  means that a lot of mayors  or states are in a situation  where if I said, all right, here's this material,  here's this paving material.

It's going to last 50% longer, but it's going to cost you 30% more,  they would actually have to feel that they have to say no because they're  under such pressure to do as much as they can that they couldn't wait until you get the payoff. There's actually a whole R  and D part of our department.  It's probably the part  people know about the least.  We're even trying to stand up an ARPA I like DARPA or ARPA E. DARPA or the Defense Advanced  Research Projects Agency  is a part of the Department of Defense that does, like, advanced research projects,  what they call high risk, high reward stuff, where they're like,   I don't know if this is gonna work, but if it does, it's gonna be a big deal.

Their biggest thing that they kicked off  was probably the Internet, but also GPS and   graphical user interfaces and the mouse. It has  been a successful project, but people are like,   maybe we should think about this for things other  than war. So you have ARPA H, which is like, high   risk, high reward for health stuff, and ARPA I for  infrastructure.

That's what he's talking about.  To do some of these really far out things, like  self healing concrete or carbon negative road   paving or a 500 year bridge.

Hank: Cause America's gonna   be here in 500 years, Pete.

Pete: better.

Hank: I'm like,   yeah, put some spider silk in there.  I don't know.

Pete: What is your favorite invention?  How about this? Just the idea that we can   ask the universe questions, and it can answer us,  and we can get better at figuring  out how to ask questions. 

Pete: So, science

Hank: So that's science  Yeah, I think it was, like, a really important invention. 

Pete: Is someone here?

Hank: Hello. Oh, my son. 

Pete: Oh hey! Nice to meet you.

Hank: Come here. 

Pete: Can I get a big handshake, Orin? Yeah. 

Orin: I have a question.

Hank: Oh, you have a question?  Katherine (offscreen) Tell it to daddy

Hank: Uh, he wants to know,   since you are the secretary of transportation,  if you own secretary birds. Because if you have secretary birds  if you had snakes, they  could eat them, no problem.

Pete: Oh, I hadn't thought about that. I don't know that much about birds.  Is that a kind of bird?

Hank: Secretary birds are endemic to Africa. They are birds of prey.  They eat meat. They eat all kinds of meat,  but among the meat that they do eat is snakes. Wikipedia says the importance  of snakes in the diet  has been exaggerated in the past,  although they can be locally  important and venomous,  species like adders and cobras are regularly among the types   of snakes preyed upon.

Look at this skeleton.  That's wild. That thing's mostly leg.  Why do secretary birds share a name with secretaries of transportation  and the interior and such? I've looked, possibly because they were  kind of domesticated to guard crops from things that might eat the crops,  and so they were like the  secretary of the field also,  maybe because they look, they've got a bunch of quill pins  stuck behind their heads, and they're wearing, like, long waistcoats.

So they looked like the men in the 1800's who did secretary type stuff.  That was the quietest whisper  I've ever heard in my life. Why don't we just make the trains go faster? 

Pete: We are.

Hank: Oh, great.

Pete: First of all, we're  building high speed rail. 

Hank: are we?

Pete: Yeah, we really are.  Yeah. I just broke ground one two weeks ago.

Hank: It's true. The infrastructure law   funded a part of this rail line that is going from Southern   California to Las Vegas. It's gonna be 185 miles per hour train   that'll run down the middle of I 15 to drive from LA to Las Vegas.  It might be like 4 hours on this train. It's gonna be two.

It's really.   It's like a thing. I had no idea.

Pete: They wanna be up and running by 2028. 

Hank: Okay. That's fast. Can I bet the name of my podcast  on whether or not that's gonna hit on time?

Pete: You could. 

Hank: Would you?

Pete: That probably   goes against some federal ethics rule. But if they do I get to rename your podcast? 

Hank: Yes. Okay. 

Pete: All right.

Hank: So, yeah, if they.  If they finish Bright Line West in 2028, Pete Buttigieg gets to rename our podcast.  I'm sorry, it's a. It's a federal law.  The trains that we have, like, just a regular Amtrak long distance train  could be much faster if the freight railroads that actually own the rails-- 

Hank: sure

Pete: got out of the way.

Hank: So they get priority because they own them.

Pete: But here's the interesting thing. You might say.  There should be a rule that passenger trains  can go first. Right. Get this.  There is a rule that  passenger trains can go first.  They don't get priority.

One of the conditions of the formation  of Amtrak and the relief that the railroads got from their common carrier obligations  50 years ago, part of the deal was if there's a passenger train on your tracks and  you're what's called the host railroad, you gotta let it go first.

Hank: But that's not what they do.

Pete: That's not what they do. Sometimes. We're doing some work on that, too.  Now, part of that's with the  surface transportation board.  That's an independent body, that's not us, that regulates railroads.

Hank: Established in 1996, the Surface Transportation Board  of the US is an independent federal agency that serves as an adjudicatory board.  It has the authority to regulate rates, service, construction,   acquisition and abandonment of rail lines.

Pete: They're stepping up enforcement of this.  We're involved in some of the data gathering, some of the other work to help do   something about that.

Hank: Interesting.

Pete: Ever since we made  clear that we're doing that,  we've already seen a better rate of compliance.

Hank: I tried to find any mention  of this stuff going on anywhere,  and I did find something eventually on a freight industry   publication called Freight Waves. I mean, look, this stuff is important,  but it's in the nitty gritty. It's very deep in the weeds.  Today's unanimous decision reflects the board's  serious commitment to fulfilling  its congressionally established  duties under the PRIIA to adjudicate disputes over passenger rail on time performance. This framework will ensure that the board  has the information it  needs to fulfill its mandate  to enforce the preference standards and ensure reliable on time performance for passenger rail.

Cause here's the thing, that the companies that are running the rail  are also running the freight, and Amtrak is running on their lines. But the companies, by law, have to give the lines preference,  but they'd rather not because they want to give their own trains preference. So if nobody is coming after them for this, they're not gonna do it,  so we're coming after them for it.

Do you think that we could be headed  into a world where there are  just fewer cars on the road,  or is that just un American?

Pete: You know, I grew up in South Bend, Indiana. Our city was big, built around Studebaker,  but I do think it's evolving in  terms of our relationship with cars. We got to a point, especially between   kind of the 50's and the 70's, where we started having our cities  and our lives revolve around cars rather than having the cars serve us. The whole appeal of cars is freedom and choice.

But now we have some designs  that actually take the freedom and the choice away because they compel you to   bring 2000 pounds of metal with you in order to get certain places,  we want to make sure people have choice things like microtransit, not just e   bikes, but what's going on, what rideshare kind of makes possible. All of this can change the texture  of what our cities and towns  are like in a way that I do think  means we will be less likely  to be stuck having to use a  car whether we want to or not. Even if cars in some way,  shape or form are going to always be an important part of transportation.

Hank: What role do you think transportation plays in the availability of housing?

Pete: I think they absolutely go hand in hand.  I would always go to the conference of mayors when I was a mayor. I still do, but I have never seen a time when  all the mayors I talk to from  every part of the country  are focused on a single issue--

Hank: Wow

Pete: and it's been housing. But there's so many reasons why housing and transportation are related. I mean the most basic is that you live somewhere  that you can get to work and  you wind up with a lot of people  who either live impossibly far away from work so they can be somewhere they can afford  or they live somewhere they can't really afford so they can get to work. Both of those scenarios can be addressed through  better transportation.

Plus on your monthly budget,  transportation and housing costs hit, obviously at the same time. And the lower income you are, the further north that goes   of 40% of your family budget. You knowing that at the end of the day  we don't actually experience distance in miles, we experience it in minutes.

The more good options we can create, including supporting transit oriented development,  supporting good transit options and just smarter planning,  the more we can fit together  a transportation agenda  with a housing agenda,  which also gives you a climate payoff because there can be   fewer trips that you were compelled to take just by the layout of your commute  and how you shop and everything else you got to do that requires you to go somewhere.

Hank: I mean, obviously you're inside of it. But do you feel like when you talk to mayors  across the US that for the most part everybody's  just trying to make things  better for their people?

Pete: Oh, yeah, especially mayors. You know, when you're a mayor, it's not,  you may have a strong ideology  or partisan point of view,  but most of the problems you deal with aren't. Through and through partisan issues. Right.

Hank: You aren't part of  the culture war, you know?

Pete: Yeah? You're trying to get trash  picked up and fill potholes.  And the rest of you're  compelled to deal with things  in a very pragmatic way without  surrendering your values,  because your values come into  play in so many different ways. And the mayors, I still view the world as much  through the eyes of former mayor as through the eyes of a federal official. And I think as a federal official, probably the best indication of whether  we're doing a good job is whether mayor's lives are a little bit easier,  jobs are a bit easier because of what we're doing.

And I will say it would have been nice. I mean, being a mayor, I think,  is harder now even than it was when I was doing this ten or eight years ago.  But it really would have been nice when I was mayor if there was   a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package coming out of Washington that would help us get  lead out of our pipes and  get electric school buses  and fill in holes in the road,  get transit and fix airports and all the things we're doing here. That's great.

Hank: I wish that   I had asked him why he thinks it's harder to be a mayor now than it was ten years ago.  Knowing some people in local government, I have my own answer to this question.  And I really do think that it's  just that the temperature is hotter  and people are bringing big existential  fears into local government. And a lot of those big existential fears are made up by the Internet.  And suddenly the local officials have to deal with this hot potato. Just like it was hard for me in this video  to find information about how  the surface transportation  board is dealing with the freight carriers preferring freight over Amtrak,  even though they're legally  required to do the opposite. There's no Twitter threads about that.

Why would there be?  There shouldn't be. But that's the work that government is doing,  and local government is doing especially. So I obviously want to be   looking to vote for people whose values align with mine.  I also want to be looking for people who are focused on solving problems  that are the big problems the towns have.

Like housing. Like housing!  Thank you for coming to my house.

Pete: Thank you for having me over. 

Hank: Thank you for my pin.

Pete: You're welcome 

Hank: And, I made these when I was sick. I designed socks, and I.  So those are my cancer socks that  I designed while I was on chemo,  and I wanted to have them.

Pete: Thank you. I appreciate that.  In addition to the Garfield, the ant. Yeah. I'm not walking away empty handed.  Thanks, Pete.

Hank: John,   I'll see you on. On Tuesday.

Pete: See you, John.