Transportation secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg on Thursday testified before a Senate panel, saying the Biden administration will look at “all relevant authorities” at its disposal toward a federal mask mandate on all forms of transportation.

“We are prepared to make sure that we use all relevant authorities to enforce the President’s executive order. To ensure that across all modes of transportation, workers, passengers, commuters are protected,” Buttigieg told Senate Democrat Ed Markey of Massachusetts, CNN reported. 

The former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor is on the path to becoming the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary.

Buttigieg will play a central role in President Joe Biden’s push for a bipartisan infrastructure package. Biden’s campaign proposed spending $1.3 trillion over 10 years to build schools, roads, bridges, railroads and pipes, expand broadband access and introduce a “100% clean energy economy.”

“We need to build our economy back, better than ever,” Buttigieg added.

“The Department of Transportation can play a central role in this, by implementing President Biden’s infrastructure vision creating millions of good-paying jobs, revitalizing communities that have been left behind, enabling American small businesses, workers, families and farmers to compete and win in the global economy, and tackling the climate crisis.”

In his nomination hearing, Buttigieg said he would work to implement reforms to prevent disasters like the Boeing 737 Max crashes, and is willing to make personnel changes, including at the Federal Aviation Administration, where some top-ranking positions are currently vacant.

“Engineers and the FAA should be in the driver’s seat,” said Buttigieg, CNN reported.

Lauding Buttigieg, Biden compared the former Navy officer to his late son Beau Biden in March 2020. “I know that may not mean much to most people, but to me it’s the highest compliment I can give any man or woman,” Joe Biden said at the time.

Priorly, Buttigieg had served as the mayor of South Bend since 2012. He did not seek reelection in 2019. In 2014, he put his civic duties on hold to deploy as a US Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan.

In a 2015 essay for South Bend Tribune, Buttigieg came out as gay while serving as mayor. His husband, Chasten Buttigieg, is a drama teacher.