Fresh off of telling pop star Meghan Trainor that he loves her, CNN’s Chris Wallace this week called Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg a “nerd” during an interview on his HBO Max special, “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace.”
Critics say a more appropriate word to have used would have been “failure” …
Regardless, Wallace made the remark after Buttigieg went off on a wild tangent about traffic science. To be fair, the host kind of asked for it.
“Have you studied traffic?” he originally asked, before going to explain why he wants to know the answer to this seemingly boring question.
“The reason I ask this is, how many times have you driven along a road and there’s suddenly a backup and, you know, you crawl along for 10 or 15 minutes, and then it starts to move, and then it moves faster? And there’s no obvious [reason why]. There’s no accident. … And I think to myself, why was that backup there? I assume there’s got to be a science to traffic,” he said.
An extremely excited Buttigieg responded that there is indeed a science to traffic, and noted further that he’d love to endlessly yap about it.
Watch the full back-and-forth exchange below:
“Oh, yeah, there’s an entire science to this. And we have a lot of research partners. We have our own research institution, the Volpe Institute, which is in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And it’s really interesting. I could geek out on this for a couple of hours, if we had time,” Buttigieg said.
“Please don’t. That would be a bad traffic jam,” Wallace somewhat jokingly replied.
But Buttigieg didn’t listen. Instead he started a veritable college-grade lecture on the topic.
“A lot of it is is just human nature, human psychology, the fact that if even one of us gets distracted, that can kind of cascade through us, the fact that we pause and look at something odd or an accident or something when pass it by. The ways that we behave behind the wheel as human beings are not exactly orderly and predictable. And part of what we try to do is make at least traffic more orderly and predictable,” he said.
“That’s what traffic lights do. That’s what speed limits do. But one of the challenges we have right now is you have more and more people in the country, more and more people on the road, is how to be smarter about that. For example, it turns out that sometimes when you just when you got a lot of traffic on a roadway, and you just add a lane or two, all you get is more traffic, because it actually makes more people want to drive on that road, and then you’re right back where you were,” he continued.
“And so we’re trying to be smarter as a country about when do you add to the capacity do you have that you have or when are you in a situation where you can’t pave your way out of the problem, and the real answer is better transit or more alternatives, or a better designed grid. These are the kinds of things that I love sinking my teeth into because we have the tools to do something about it with, and, frankly, even the existing infrastructure we have, we’re not using it as intelligently as we could be,” Buttigieg added.
Apparently bored to tears, Wallace then cut in to ask, “You’re kind of a nerd aren’t you?”
One obsessed with race, critics might say:
Traffic deaths increased drastically during the pandemic. People of color, Native Americans and people in rural areas are among the most affected, but this crisis impacts everyone.
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) May 17, 2022
Buttigieg replied by confirming that he is indeed a traffic nerd.
“I love this stuff. I am, yeah. I mean, look, so many kids, I think for a reason that I can’t quite explain, from early childhood get just fascinated with anything related to transportation, right? Trucks, cars, planes, trains, boats, all of that. I mean, you know, half the kids books we have at home are about these kinds of things. So there’s something I think very human about taking an interest in this,” he said.
“And then professionally, I’m fascinated by it. Also because I see how much of a difference it makes in people’s lives: the jobs associated with construction, transportation. But also just the fact that the less time you spend worrying about transportation, the more time you get to spend on other things in your life that matter to you — the more you get to be with your kids, the more you get to be productive at work,” he added.
While Buttigieg purports to care very deeply about traffic, he’s done very little to rectify the myriad of infrastructure-related issues America faces. Instead he’s been focused on race, race, race.
For instance, he launched an initiative to tear down racist highways:
Pete Buttigieg hones in on ‘racist’ bridges and roadways with an assist from April Ryan – https://t.co/PtKrU0JIJg
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) November 9, 2021
Conversely, he has yet to launch any initiatives to deal with the nation’s baby formula shortage …
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