Baltimore: Maryland Governor Urges Bipartisan Support for Bridge Rebuild Funding

Baltimore Maryland Governor Moore
Following the collapse of the bridge in Baltimore’s harbor, Maryland Governor Wes Moore called upon both Republicans and Democrats to cooperate in securing federal funding necessary for the bridge’s reconstruction and to revitalize the port economy.

The collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key bridge occurred early on Tuesday, resulting in the tragic loss of six road workers. The incident was triggered when a container ship, nearly the size of the Eiffel Tower, lost power and collided with a support pylon, causing a significant portion of the bridge to fall into the Patapsco River, obstructing the Port of Baltimore’s shipping channel.

In response to the crisis, the Biden administration swiftly allocated $60 million in initial emergency aid on Thursday to aid in the cleanup efforts and facilitate the reopening of the port. The Port of Baltimore stands as the largest in the U.S. for “roll-on, roll-off” vehicle imports and exports of farm and construction equipment. Its closure since Tuesday has left approximately 15,000 individuals, whose livelihoods depend on its daily operations, in a state of uncertainty.

Federal estimates suggest that the final cost of rebuilding the bridge could reach a staggering $2 billion. President Joe Biden has committed to covering these costs, contingent upon the passage of legislation authorizing the funds by both the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-led Senate.

However, partisan disputes over funding have plagued the divided Congress, with even hardline Republicans often opposing measures supported by members of their own party.

Governor Moore, a Democrat, emphasized the urgency of bipartisan cooperation not only for the benefit of Baltimore but also for the broader national economy. He stressed that the Port of Baltimore plays a vital role in the country’s economic growth and urged Republicans to support the funding.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressed confidence on Sunday that Congress would approve the necessary funds for cleanup and reconstruction, citing the bipartisan passage of Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure package in 2021.

As cleanup efforts commenced, an enormous crane began cutting up portions of the collapsed bridge on Saturday. A 200-ton section of the bridge has already been removed, with officials strategizing the removal of the ship from the wreckage.

Plans are underway to establish an alternate route for “commercially essential vessels” to navigate through the area, although specifics regarding its opening date remain unclear. Coast Guard officials have been actively involved in facilitating marine traffic through the deployment of buoys near the collision site.

Adverse weather conditions and the hazardous wreckage have hindered divers’ efforts to locate the four remaining bodies of the deceased construction workers in recent days, according to Governor Moore.

Neither Moore nor other officials have provided an estimated timeline for the reopening of the port or the reconstruction of the bridge.

Also Read: Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapses After Ship Collision

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