Mr. Secretary, thank you so very, very much for your leadership.
I want to congratulate Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the City looks awesome.
I also want to give a big round of applause to the hardworking men and women of the International Longshoremen's Association. Mr. Vice President, as you know, here at this port, we have a tremendous workforce. That really is the heart and soul of what makes the Port of Baltimore thrive and grow.
I want to thank our Congressional Delegation for understanding that the center of Maryland is this Port of Baltimore; Sen. Ben Cardin, our friend Ben, Senator Barbara Mikulski, now the chair of the Appropriations Committee, Congressman Sarbanes, Congressman Ruppersberger, Congressman Cummings. These individuals that we send to the halls of our nation's Capital understand that there is no progress without jobs. And they understand how many jobs this port generates. I want to salute them and thank them for their great work at this port, and keeping those lanes open year after year.
Mr. Vice President, we want to thank you and President Obama for having the courage to lead, for having the courage to act, for having the courage to make the better choices that will bring about the better results we seek. Those results are jobs, and a stronger and growing middle class. That's why your presence here is so very important to all of us.
We understand in Baltimore and in Maryland that in order for a modern economy to create jobs, we need to be willing to come together and make modern investments--investments that we can only make when we act together. That's why we've been recognized as the #1 public schools in America for five years in a row. That's why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as the #1 state in America for innovation and entrepreneurship. So far, together--thanks to President Obama and Vice President Biden, and the leadership of our Congressional delegation, because of the hardworking men and women of this port and this State--we've recovered 94 percent of the jobs that we lost in the recession.
But we still have a ways to go. That's why today's announcement is so important.
The cranes over my shoulder were purchased through a public-private partnership that allows us now to accommodate the larger ships coming through the Panama Canal. That's jobs. That's a stronger middle class.
The dollars that our representatives have fought for, to dredge the port and to keep it open for those larger ships, those are jobs. Over 100,000 jobs are supported by the activity of this port.
The Vice President is here today to announce another major investment. Together, we will be making investments that will improve the connections of the rail and the roads that allow us to create more jobs and to move more cargo.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the fight for a stronger middle class, for more jobs, the Vice President has been a tireless advocate. He has been leading in the Recovery and Reinvestment Act efforts to create jobs and expand opportunity, leading in efforts to make our neighborhoods safer, and leading in efforts that improve the infrastructure that connects all of us to a world of greater opportunities and greater jobs for our kids.
Please welcome an advocate for a stronger middle class and a great neighbor to the people of Maryland, a terrific Vice President who is always on our side ladies and gentlemen, Vice President Joe Biden.