Buttigieg says there will be ‘more’ federal funding for Baltimore Bridge collapse

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday said there will be additional federal funding allocated to remove and rebuild the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, while noting that Congress may need to approve such relief.
The Department of Transportation dished out $60 million in emergency funding last week, days after the bridge was struck by a cargo ship and collapsed in Patapsco River.
Asked on CBS News’s “Face The Nation,” where the money is coming from, Buttigieg said, “We’re using an authority called the emergency relief. This is through our Federal Highway Administration. That’s how we got those first $60 million out and there will be more.”
To secure more funding, Buttigieg said he hopes there will be bipartisan support from Congress should the government turn to them.
“Now it is possible we may need to turn to Congress to supplement that fund,” he said, adding later, “And I hope and expect this too will be a bipartisan priority. It’s not just the right thing to do for the people of Baltimore. But really important, again, for our whole supply system to make sure that that port and that bridge are operating just the way they were supposed to.”
Regarding potential skepticism among lawmakers, Buttigieg said, “your district could be next.”
“And also this has historically been bipartisan, and I’m not just reaching back to bygone eras. Remember, the infrastructure package itself President Biden’s infrastructure plan went through on a bipartisan basis,” he said. “A lot of people didn’t think that was possible when we got here in 2021. But the President never gave up on the idea. And sure enough, a lot of Republicans were willing to cross the aisle, work with President Biden, work with Democrats to get this done.”
“If there’s anything left in this country that is more bipartisan than infrastructure, it should be emergency response. This is both and I hope that Congress will be willing if and when we turn to them,” he said.
A cargo ship, named Dali, was heading for Sri Lanka overnight last Tuesday when it crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to crumble into the water. Officials said the 984-foot Singapore-flagged ship lost power when attempting to leave the Baltimore Harbor.
Crews on Saturday began removing the first piece of wreckage from the Baltimore bridge in what Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) called a “remarkably complex operation.”
Moore said removing steel from the bridge will hopefully allow a temporary restricted channel to open and get more vessels into the water around the collapse site.
Pressed over how long it will take remove the ship and reopen the the channel, Buttigieg said, “We haven’t received a timeline yet. But what I can tell you is the work is now underway, parts of the non-federal channel are already being worked on.”
The Port of Baltimore, which has been closed since the bridge’s collapse, is a major shipping hub on the East Coast.
“So it takes a lot to make sure that it can be dismantled safely, to make sure that the vessel stays where it is supposed to be and doesn’t swing out into the channel. But it has to be done. Because that is the only way to get into most of the Port of Baltimore,” he added. “And of course, it’s important not just to the people in the workers of Baltimore, but to our national supply chains to get that port back up and running as quickly as possible.”
Buttigieg last week expressed concerns about the local economic impact of the port closure, noting that 8,000 jobs are directly associated with its activities, while more than $100 million in cargo moves through the port daily.
He said on Sunday there are no estimates yet on how long it will take to rebuild the bridge.
The search for the four remaining missing construction workers was paused last week due to unsafe conditions in the water for divers. Moore on Saturday said that divers will return to the waters for the search when it is safe to do so.

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