Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Biden to project Baltimore as fertile ground for his agenda

BALTIMORE (AP) — 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 likely the first stop on a national tour to demonstrate the value of his agenda.

Biden plans to lay down Baltimore’s port on Wednesday as a blueprint for the rest of the country recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, according to administration officials who insisted on anonymity to discuss the incident. To reduce shipping hassles. 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.

Nearly 90% of voters in Baltimore supported Biden in last year’s election. The president last stayed in Baltimore for the CNN Town Hall on October 21. Maryland’s largest city of 586,000 people, Baltimore embodies the complexities of an increasingly diverse America in a time of heated national politics.

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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 is home to elite private schools, renowned restaurants and the prestige 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 transit along the Northeast Corridor.

A big part of Biden’s pitch is that he succeeded in a bipartisan infrastructure deal, whereas Trump regularly failed despite a host of infrastructure weeks. His predecessor never made deliveries to the country’s cities and ports, Biden said Tuesday during a virtual event hosted by the Democratic National Committee.

“So it was left to us,” he said. “We got the job done.”

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