Gov. Larry Hogan and the state’s Congressional delegation met Monday morning to discuss Maryland’s federal priorities, and bringing the new FBI headquarters to Maryland was at the top of the list. The project, with its 11,500 jobs, seemed enough to overcome any partisan differences between Maryland’s mostly Democratic congressional delegation and its Republican governor.
Maryland has proposed two sites, one in Greenbelt and one in Landover. Those sites are in competition with one Virginia has proposed. Senator Barbara Mikulski said both Maryland and Virginia have aggressive congressional delegations. But she said only Maryland has the right combination of infrastructure, human capital and political support. She also pointed out that 43 percent of FBI employees live in Maryland already.
“The very criteria they want so the FBI can do its mission is right here in Maryland,” Mikulski said.
Mikulski says the FBI would fill out an already-strong national security corridor that includes the National Security Agency and the United States Cyber Command at Fort Meade.
All of the members present, including Sen. Ben Cardin, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, and Rep. Donna Edwards, focused their message on unity and bipartisanship.
Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn says the state’s ready to invest in transportation infrastructure to attract the FBI. The proposed Greenbelt site, he estimated, would require between $190 million and $210 million, which he said the state would be able to come up with. Sen. Cardin said that the Purple Line, a proposed light rail line that would serve Maryland’s DC suburbs and has already won federal funding, is a separate project from the FBI bid, though he said it was an important priority on its own.
A final decision on the FBI headquarters is expected next year.
The governor presented a list of more than a hundred federal priorities that incudes key infrastructure, labor, economic development, military and housing issues and projects.
The delegation also asked something of Hogan, Rep. Elijah Cummings told reporters: Tell Washington to ratchet down the gridlock and focus on working together.
“Our governor, being a new governor, can come in with a fresh voice and perhaps be a part of that leadership that says to some of our folks in Washington that we have to move from where we are,” Cummings said.
Hogan, though, questioned whether he would be able to get that message through to the Republican leadership in Congress. Despite being of the same party, he quipped, he won with more Democratic votes than Republican.