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Biden promises to help rebuild collapsed Baltimore bridge

President Biden wants the federal government to fully pay to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge, among other expenses.
Biden promises to help rebuild collapsed Baltimore bridge
Posted at 7:38 AM, Apr 05, 2024

President Joe Biden on Friday called on Congress to approve federal funding to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. 

Standing alongside state and federal officials, with the fallen bridge in the backdrop, President Biden told the people of Baltimore that he has their back. 

"I fully intend, as the governor knows, to have the federal government cover the cost of building this entire bridge, all of it," President Biden said. 

The bridge collapsed in the early morning of March 26 after a barge crashed into it. 

Authorities were able to stop car traffic on the bridge with seconds to spare, but six construction workers who were on the bridge died when it collapsed. 

"To all the families who are grieving, I've come here to grieve with you," President Biden said. 

The bridge's closure has caused significant disruptions to both vehicular and shipping traffic. A major port has been forced to close in the wake of the collapse as the remnants of the bridge remain in the water. 

White House officials said President Biden is gathering with officials to discuss ongoing response efforts, with the goal of getting the Port of Baltimore open "as soon as humanly possible." 

SEE MORE: Prior ship mishaps boosted confidence in strength of Baltimore bridge

President Biden highlighted the immediate actions he is taking to provide assistance to those impacted by the bridge collapse. That assistance includes $60 million in emergency relief funds for Maryland's initial costs, providing loans for small businesses impacted, grants for workers affected by the bridge collapse and providing federal resources to help clear the wreckage. 

"The president is continuing to lead a whole-of-government approach to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge," a senior administration official said. "As the president said within hours of the collapse: this administration will be with the people of Baltimore every step of the way."

The House Freedom Caucus, which is comprised of Republicans, would not commit to providing additional supplemental funding to support cleanup and rebuild efforts.

"Before Congress considers any emergency supplemental funding for the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, it's important that (1) we first seek maximum liability from the foreign shipping companies upfront and (2) the Port of Baltimore draws upon already available federal funds," the group said in a statement.

The Biden administration has noted that the federal government fully paid for the rebuilt I-35W bridge when it collapsed in Minnesota in 2007. 

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