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'We've Got To Keep Up': President Biden Touts Infrastructure Bill During Visit To Port Of Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- President Joe Biden visited the Port of Baltimore Wednesday touting the trillion dollar infrastructure bill.

The president arrived about 3:15 p.m. by Marine One from Delaware, where he attended a memorial service for the late Gov. Ruth Minner.

Biden is expected to sign that infrastructure bill soon and said the ports like the one here in Baltimore will see significant improvements and bring jobs.

"Infrastructure Week has finally arrived," Biden said.

President Biden started his victory lap on his bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress.

"The world's changing so rapidly—so rapidly. We've got to keep up," Biden said. "We're in a competition to determine whether or not we can still remain the most powerful economic force in the world."

The president touted investments in passenger rail and public transit and proposals to manufacture solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries for electric vehicles, saying they will boost the country's economy and lead to new jobs.

"This is a once-in-a-generation investment to create good-paying jobs, modernize infrastructure, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity," he said.

Investments in infrastructure will also ease the country's supply chain issues and build resilience to future economic shocks such as pandemics, cyberattacks and extreme weather events, Biden said.

"By investing in our roads, our bridges, our ports, and so much else, this bill's going to make it easier for companies to get good to markets more quickly," he said.

"People are concerned about inflation. I know I am," said Congressman Kweisi Mfume.

That's why President Biden addressed it head-on, assuring that the deal will help get costs under control.

"This bill is gonna reduce the cost of goods to consumers, businesses and get people back to work. This is going to bring inflation down, not up," he said.

The trillion-dollar bill will dedicate $17 billion to the nation's ports, modernizing the Port of Baltimore and others. Biden also promoted federal funding to expand the Howard Street Tunnel, allowing trains with double-stacked cars to transport goods across the country.

Over time, infrastructure improvements will help lower prices and keep shelves stocked, Biden said. Earlier in his remarks, the president acknowledged that while several indicators show the economy is recovering, many Americans are feeling squeezed.

"They're still looking out there--everything from a gallon of gas to a loaf of bread costs more," he said. "And it's worrisome, even though wages are going up."

Gov. Larry Hogan, Mayor Brandon Scott and other elected officials greeted the president at the port Wednesday. It's President Biden's second trip to Baltimore in three weeks.

"This landmark, bipartisan legislation will help us grow jobs, expand economic opportunity, and enhance security," Hogan said.

Federal funding will help with dredging projects to attract more ships and sustain jobs.

"We can build another 50-foot berth to take those very big ships," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen.

"Think about the largest ships in the world coming into the port and being able to just kind of circle in and out, and the efficiencies that will give us," said Maryland Secretary of Transportation Greg Slater.

The White House ports envoy told WJZ Tuesday the U.S. is playing catch-up to other countries.

Ahead of Biden's visit, the port director said he is eager to show the president agriculture equipment exports.

"And we're going to show him the new cranes, the ongoing construction and the berths at the piers," said Maryland Ports Administration executive director William Doyle. "We're going to show him everything."

"What we want to show the president is our workforce," said Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger.

A workforce on a site which will need an electric overhaul to adapt to imports.

"Electrical vehicles are going to be coming off that ship and they're going to need to be charged and we are going to need to have charging stations at the Port of Baltimore," said Doyle.

In addition to the elected officials, the White House invited two Maryland letter writers to meet with President Biden today, Angela Grimes and Dr. Lisa Cerbone-Jensen, described as "supporters" of the bill.

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