Biden assures of Baltimore bridge rebuild by Federal Government

U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged that the Federal Government will pay the full cost to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

The Baltimore bridge was one of the nation’s busiest arteries that collapsed hours earlier on Tuesday after being struck by a massive freight ship.

“It’s my intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge and I expect the Congress to support my effort,” Biden said, speaking from the White House ahead of a trip to North Carolina.

A massive freight ship stacked high with containers smashed into a bridge while sailing out of Baltimore, Maryland, sending cars and people into the river below and closing one of the busiest ports on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

Rescuers pulled out two survivors, one of whom was hospitalized, and were searching for more in the Patapsco River after huge metal spans of the 1.6-mile Francis Scott Key Bridge crumpled into the icy water.

“I know every minute in that circumstance feels like a lifetime,” Biden said to people who are still awaiting word on those missing after the collapse.

READ ALSO: Baltimore bridge collapses after ship collision

The president said the search and rescue operation “is our top priority.”

The Francis Scott Key bridge was a main thoroughfare for drivers between New York and Washington who sought to avoid downtown Baltimore.

It was one of three ways to cross the Baltimore Harbor, with a traffic volume of 31,000 cars per day or 11.3 million vehicles a year.

Biden, who called the collision a “terrible accident,” was asked why the federal government should pick up the tab if the ship and its operator were potentially to blame.

“That could be but we’re not going to wait for that to happen. We’re going to pay for it to get the bridge rebuilt and opened,” Biden responded.

Large scale infrastructure projects are typically paid for by a combination of state and federal governments.

Biden said he would go to Baltimore as quickly as he can, but did not give exact timing.


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