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Van Hollen: 'No. 1 goal is to get everybody around the table' on infrastructure

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, touring the port of Baltimore on Tuesday, said he hopes President Donald J. Trump and Congress will come to an agreement on how to address $1 trillion in infrastructure needs nationwide — although no such deal appears close.

Senate Democrats proposed a blueprint last month for federal investment in the country's roads, bridges, ports and airports. There is bipartisan support in Washington for infrastructure, but paying for it has been a point of contention.

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"My No. 1 goal is to get everybody around the table and figure out the best way forward," said Van Hollen, who sits on the Senate Appropriations and Budget committees.

"I do think it's going to require a significant amount of public investment going forward," he said. "This cannot be done solely through tax breaks, which is what some people are proposing."

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Trump has repeatedly voiced support for a $1 trillion infrastructure overhaul. His advisers have said the president's plan would be funded by tax credits and public-private partnerships, but they have provided no details on what it might look like.

Van Hollen praised the Baltimore port — which operates under a public-private partnership between the Maryland Port Administration and Ports America Chesapeake — for being recognized for the third straight year as the most efficient in the nation.

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He said he wants to see the Howard Street Tunnel under Baltimore expanded and other measures taken to ensure the port can continue to grow.

"I wish the new Congress and the new administration had started out by talking about modernizing our infrastructure, something that brings people together," he said.

"It's a huge need for Baltimore, for Maryland and for the country, and it would've been much better to start out on a point of common ground rather than some of the division we're seeing."

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

http://www.twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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http://www.twitter.com/cmcampbell6


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