Gov. Larry Hogan and Maryland's congressional delegation put partisan politics aside Monday to present a united front in the state's bid to woo the FBI to Prince George's County.
The state's two Democratic senators and eight representatives — all but one a Democrat — huddled in Annapolis with the new Republican governor to review their strategy for luring the law enforcement agency to set up its headquarters in either Greenbelt or Landover.
All agreed at a post-meeting news conference in the State House that the prospects of adding 11,500 FBI jobs topped a lengthy priority list put together by the Hogan administration of federal issues critical to Maryland.
"The election is over," said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, "and the people of Maryland don't just want us to move to common ground. They want us to move to higher ground."
Hogan expressed his solidarity with the congressional delegation as they attempt to convince the federal government's real estate arm that either of the two Maryland tracts would suit the FBI. The General Services Administration, which has responsibility for selecting the new site, is also weighing a location in Springfield, Va.
"Everybody is focused like a laser beam," Hogan said. "It's a tremendous opportunity. We're going to make it happen."
A project could require a substantial upfront investment by state taxpayers. Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn estimated that between $190 million and $210 million in road and highway improvements might be needed to prepare the Greenbelt site. He said officials haven't gotten as far in tallying potential infrastructure improvements needed for the Landover site.
Asked where that money would come from, Rahn said he would shift existing transportation funds to provide the state share.
Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker — also present for the meeting — said his county would come up with needed local funding.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski said Maryland is the logical place to relocate the FBI because more than 40 percent of the Washington workforce already lives in the state.
Once the decision is made, the Maryland Democrat said, "we can get the money" to provide the needed infrastructure.
"What we need to show is political support," she said.
Members of the congressional delegation also used the occasion to urge Hogan to stick with plans to build the Red Line light-rail project in Baltimore and the Purple Line in the Washington suburbs, and to lobby his fellow Republicans in Congress not to cut federal spending that benefits Maryland.
Hogan said he wasn't sure how much clout he had as a new GOP governor, especially one in such a heavily Democratic state. But he said he would dive in.
After the news conference, his staff provided letters Hogan had written to urge committee leaders in the Republican-controlled Congress to retain current federal funding for children's health insurance and to lift a federal ban on Medicaid reimbursements for drug treatment.