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National News

Biden pledges federal dollars for ‘entire cost’ to rebuild collapsed Baltimore bridge 

The cargo ship Dali sits in the water after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. According to reports, rescuers are still searching for multiple people, while two survivors have been pulled from the Patapsco River. A work crew was fixing potholes on the bridge, which is used by roughly 30,000 people each day, when the ship struck at around 1:30am on Tuesday morning. The accident has temporarily closed the Port of Baltimore, one of the largest and busiest on the East Coast of the U.S. (Credit: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Jacob Fischler, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
March 26, 2024

President Joe Biden called Tuesday for the federal government to foot the bill to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore following its collapse earlier in the day.

The ongoing search-and-rescue operation led by the U.S. Coast Guard is the top priority for now, Biden said in brief remarks from the White House on Tuesday afternoon.

The bridge collapsed around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday after a container ship struck it.

Biden said the federal government should fund all reconstruction costs. Congress would have to approve any federal funding.

“It’s my intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing the bridge,” Biden said. “And I expect the Congress to support my effort. It’s going to take some time. The people of Baltimore can count on us, though, to stick with them every step of the way.”

Asked if the shipping company should be held responsible for the costs of reconstruction, Biden said the federal government should act before a determination of fault is made.

“That might be, but we’re not going to wait for that to happen,” he said. “We’re going to pay for it to get the bridge rebuilt and open.”

Biden’s public remarks came shortly after meeting with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr. and the Maryland congressional delegation, during which the president said he promised federal resources to rebuild the bridge and reopen the Port of Baltimore, which closed shortly after the bridge collapse.

“I told them we’re going to send all the federal resources they need as they respond to this emergency,” he said. “I mean all the federal resources. And we’re going to rebuild that bridge together.”

Biden said he would visit Baltimore “as quickly as I can.”

A spokesperson for Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said he was in touch with authorities in the state this morning.

“Governor Shapiro has been in communication with Governor Moore this morning to offer Pennsylvania’s support and let him know the Shapiro Administration stands ready to deliver any assistance necessary as rescue efforts continue after this tragic incident at Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge,” Bonder told the Capital-Star.

The Capital-Star staff contributed.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.