Buttigieg to visit Detroit Auto Show Wednesday

Riley Beggin
The Detroit News

Washington — U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will attend the Detroit Auto Show Wednesday. 

The visit will align with President Joe Biden's trip to the Motor City, where he and Buttigieg will tout the administration's investments in electric vehicles. 

Buttigieg will also appear with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to announce a federally-funded infrastructure project Thursday. It's the first North American International Auto Show in Detroit in more than three years, pushed off or outside due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Biden has made accelerating the auto industry's transition to electric vehicles a priority of his administration. Democrats in Congress have approved billions for manufacturing EVs, their charging infrastructure, their batteries and mineral components, and have recently approved new tax credits aiming to make EVs more accessible to low- and middle-income buyers. 

It will be Buttigieg's third visit to Michigan this year. In July, he visited Grand Rapids to highlight a project at Gerald Ford International Airport and in May he visited the Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island. 

Buttigieg and his husband Chasten officially made Michigan their home earlier this year, settling near Traverse City where Chasten grew up. Political analysts say the move could set up Buttigieg to run for statewide office in Michigan. 

The announcement also comes the day after the co-chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, Meshawn Maddock, called Buttigieg — the first openly gay U.S. Cabinet secretary and a former officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve — a "weak little girl." It drew immediate criticism from state Democrats and several Republicans. 

The auto show is expected to have 30 brands represented on the 800,000-square-foot floor at the Huntington Place convention center that organizers hope will attract 300,000 to 500,000 consumers when the public portion opens Saturday.

rbeggin@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @rbeggin