Biden pledges federal dollars for “entire cost” to rebuild collapsed Baltimore bridge

Kentucky Lantern

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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.”

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