BALTIMORE — When he was in the White House, Donald Trump referred to Baltimore as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” But for President Joe Biden, the city is the first stop on Wednesday in what will likely be a national tour to showcase his agenda.
At the port of Baltimore, Biden plans to reap the benefits of the $1 trillion infrastructure package Congress passed last week. According to a White House official, the president wants to emphasize how spending can strengthen global supply chains to help lower prices, ease shortages and add union jobs.
Biden plans to lay out the port of Baltimore as a blueprint for how to ease shipping bottlenecks that have held back the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The infrastructure package includes $17 billion to upgrade ports – an urgent need as a backlog of ships waiting to dock at major transit hubs has fueled inflation and damaged public perceptions of Biden’s economic leadership. have make.
The port in Baltimore is adding container cranes as well as a 50-foot berth where ships can be unloaded. The Port of Baltimore is also benefiting from a grant to upgrade the Howard Street Tunnel, a brick-lined underpass for trains that opened in 1895. The tunnel will be expanded so that shipping containers can be double-stacked on railcars, making it easier to move goods out. of port.
Biden, who consulted with the CEOs of Walmart, Target, FedEx and UPS on Tuesday, plans to emphasize that these investments are part of a national effort to address supply chain bottlenecks that could aid broader growth. Huh.
His administration also announced new investments to ease congestion at Savannah Port in Georgia, nearly a month after the administration helped broker a deal to operate nonstop to the Port of Los Angeles.
The president is trying to explain how port congestion shows how strong the economic rebound from the pandemic is. A forecast by the National Retail Federation suggests record levels of imports this year. Yet solid demand has created a shortage that has contributed to inflation, with prices rising 5.4% in September from a year earlier.
Nearly 90% of voters in Baltimore, Maryland’s largest city with 586,000 people, supported Biden in last year’s election. The president last stayed in town for the CNN Town Hall on October 21.
Baltimore embodies the complexities of an increasingly diverse America in a time of hot national politics.
Many Americans have seen poverty, crime, political corruption, and vacant homes on TV shows like HBO’s “The Wire.” The unrest following the 2015 death of Freddie Gray from injuries in a police van helped inspire a national movement for the rights and dignity of life for black Americans.
But there are also deep pockets of wealth and prosperity in Baltimore, a microcosm of widening inequality facing the nation. The Guilford neighborhood has mansions, elite private schools, renowned restaurants and the reputation of Johns Hopkins University.
As president, Trump repeatedly slammed the majority Black city on Twitter, calling it “the worst in the nation.” But while Trump despises Baltimore, Biden sees a test case for his agenda that goes beyond ports. Their child tax credits are sending thousands of dollars to families in a city where the child poverty rate is north of 30%. Work has begun to renovate and modernize historic Penn Station, possibly improving rail transportation throughout the Northeast.
A big part of Biden’s pitch is that he succeeded in a bipartisan infrastructure deal, while Trump failed.
Biden said Tuesday a virtual event hosted by the Democratic National Committee that Trump never delivered for the nation’s cities and ports.
“So it was left to us,” he said. “We got the job done.”