McConnell: Federal Government to Cover Majority of Baltimore Bridge Repairs

McConnell (Credits: The Hill)

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced that the federal government will shoulder the primary financial burden for repairing the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, which collapsed following a collision with a cargo ship. The estimated cost of the repairs ranges from $400 million to $2 billion.

The bridge, spanning the outer Baltimore harbor and connecting Hawkins Point, Baltimore, and Dundalk, Maryland, served as a HAZMAT route for trucks avoiding the area’s tunnels.

Mitch McConnell (Credits: Colorado Springs Gazette)

McConnell asserted that the federal government has to fund the repairs despite some Republicans questioning the need for nationwide contributions. He emphasized that the federal government will primarily fund the recovery efforts in such crises, whether it’s a hurricane or an accident like this.

McConnell’s statement followed Rep. Dan Meuser’s criticism of the idea of federal funding for the disaster, describing it as “outrageous.” Meuser expressed concern over President Biden’s response to use federal funds for the entire project, highlighting the tendency to spend without regard for American taxpayer dollars.

Baltimore bridge collapse (Credits: Fox News)

President Biden plans to visit Baltimore on Friday to assess the damage firsthand. Rebuilding the bridge may rely heavily on the federal Highway Trust Fund and the bipartisan infrastructure law passed in 2021, which allocated $1 trillion for infrastructure investment. However, additional funding from Congress may be necessary for this complex and costly endeavor.

The bridge’s collapse has disrupted traffic to one of the nation’s busiest ports. In 2023, the port handled over 50 million tons of foreign cargo, including more than 750,000 vehicles.