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Biden Commits to Getting Congress to Fund Baltimore Bridge Replacement

Biden says federal government will fund Baltimore bridge (Credits: Capital News Service)

President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he intends to ask Congress to fund the repair of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. This announcement came after the structure was compromised when a large cargo ship collided at night.

Biden emphasized the need for government funding to address the damages, urging Congressional support during a brief statement at the White House before heading to an event in North Carolina. “We will allocate whatever government resources are necessary for this emergency… we will restore the port together,” he added.

The response from the office of House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Congress’s action plan for this significant incident remains unclear. Historical precedents for such federal aid exist after the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis in 2007, when Congress allocated $250 million to Minnesota for cleanup and reconstruction efforts.

Collapsed Baltimore Bridge (Credits: Maryland Matters)

That tragedy resulted in 13 deaths and numerous injuries, highlighting the risks associated with the country’s aging infrastructure. Given the current political divide in Congress, it remains uncertain whether a swift agreement on funding for the bridge will be reached as in previous instances.

Biden also clarified that the incident appeared accidental. The cargo ship struck the bridge around 1:30 a.m. due to a loss of power. The collision disrupted one of the nation’s busiest ports, the Port of Baltimore, through which approximately 850,000 vehicles pass annually.

Estimates suggest that repairing the bridge could cost hundreds of millions of dollars and potentially take months or years to complete, even with an expedited approach. For comparison, the reconstruction of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis took about 14 months.

Baltimore Bridge Collapse (Credits: Fox News)

Constructed in the 1970s with a budget of around $110 million, the Francis Scott Key Bridge opened in 1977. It is one of the longest structures of its kind in the United States, servicing over 30,000 vehicles daily.

The bridge’s failure has impacted traffic throughout Baltimore, prompting Biden and other officials to promise prompt action. “I’ve directed my team to take all possible measures to reopen the port and repair the bridge quickly,” Biden stated.

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