Pete Buttigieg promotes American-made steel while visiting Harrisburg area


US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg shaking hands with Gov. Josh Shapiro at the Cleveland Cliffs steel mill in Steelton, PA on June 4, 2024. (Photo: Commonwealth Media Services).

By Sean Kitchen

June 4, 2024

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg toured South Central Pennsylvania on Tuesday and joined Gov. Josh Shapiro in thanking steelworkers for rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Gov. Josh Shapiro took the time on Tuesday to highlight the role American-made steel is playing in rebuilding the country in the years since President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into law.

Buttigieg was in the Lancaster and Harrisburg areas on Tuesday promoting the benefits of Biden’s infrastructure law, and the day culminated with the two touring the Cleveland Cliffs steel mill in Steelton.

“President Biden has been very clear,” Buttigieg said during a press conference.

“American-made steel produced by union workers is the backbone of our economy and thanks to the President’s leadership, we are investing in American-made materials and American workers like never before in my lifetime. That’s why I’m so excited to be here.”

The Steelton mill first opened in 1866 and is one of the oldest-continuously operating steel mills in the country. It is one of three mills in the country that produces rail for railroads and employs roughly 450 workers.

“Every time somebody boards a subway or streetcar or railcar riding on rails built with Steelton steel, they are better off and safer because of the quality of what you do here,” Buttigieg said to the plant’s workers.

Pennsylvania has received over $16.7 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with more than $11 billion going to improving roads, bridges, public transportation, rail and airports.

Last year, US Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman secured $144 million in funding to add a second daily train on Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian Line, which runs from Pittsburgh to New York City with stops in Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Maurice Cobb, the Secretary-Treasurer with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, was a fourth generation steelworker at the Steelton plant and said it was great for Buttigieg and Shapiro to tour the plant.

“It shows a partnership between the union and the company and the dedication to good-paying jobs, investment in our facilities, and keeping our infrastructure and transportation made in America,” Cobb told The Keystone.

Cobb went on to explain the importance of using American-made steel for the country’s infrastructure projects.

“The importance of it is it’s providing well paying jobs for Americans and our products made in America are far superior to foreign steel,” Cobb said.

“They don’t have to deal with the same regulations and inspection processes that we do here. Also, we deal with rigorous environmental standards here and we still put out an awesome product. Ultimately if the product is made here, we don’t have to worry about a shortage of it when something like COVID-19 happens.”


  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

Related Stories
Share This