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TELL CITY, Ind.--Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited Tell City Wednesday morning to announce a grant that will allow the construction of a pier on the Ohio River that will allow goods to be unloaded, no matter the water level. That grant is part of the infrastructure bill supported by both Democrats and Republicans that became law lst year.

The former South Bend mayor said the Biden administration plans to support rural communities across the country by putting federal money to local upgrades, like the pier project.

“Over 13 percent of rural roads are in poor condition. There are over 3,000 closed bridges in rural areas, and another 50,000 where you have weight restrictions due to their condition,” he said. “When a bridge is closed in a rural area…that means that the length of the detour…can be three times longer.”

Buttigieg also said that faded signs and degrading infrastructure reinforces a message to young people that they must get out to succeed, which he said is not true.

He promised a new partnership between the federal government and local and state governments to make sure federal money is being invested in rural projects.

“Now we’ve got to use those resources to make sure everyone actually benefits. We’ve got to do it with geographical equity. We’ve got to do it with widespread participation.”

Buttigieg, who was joined by Tell City Mayor Chris Cail and INDOT Commissioner Mike Smith for a tour of the city’s port, also made a soft cell for projects that could help fight what he called the “climate crisis”, namely on-demand ride-share programs and electric vehicle charging ports for rural areas.