President Biden on Friday touted his administration’s spending on infrastructure projects in Pittsburgh just hours after 10 people were injured in a bridge collapse in the city.
The Forbes Avenue Bridge, which runs over Fern Hollow Creek in the city’s Frick Park neighborhood collapsed during morning rush hour. City officials said the injuries were minor. Five vehicles, including a commuter bus, were on the bridge when it collapsed.
Mr. Biden vowed that the bridge would be fixed as part of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure program Congress approved last year. It includes billions to fix and repair crumbling bridges, with at least $1.6 billion to repair bridges in Pennsylvania, according to Mr. Biden.
Speaking at Mill 19, a research and development hub, Mr. Biden said the Forbes Avenue Bridge had been rated in poor condition over the past decade.
A poor rating means that a “deterioration of primary structural elements has advanced,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
“There are another 3,300 bridges here in Pennsylvania, some of which are just as old and in just as decrepit condition as that bridge was,” Mr. Biden told the crowd. “Across the country, there are 45,000 in poor condition. That is just unacceptable.”
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Rebuilding the bridge was in the nation’s best interest because it spurred commerce in the neighborhoods it connected, he said.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who spoke at the event, stressed the need for infrastructure investments to make sure a bridge collapse like the one Friday doesn’t happen again. He said the disaster was a “tragedy” because people were hurt, but also said it could have been prevented if they invested earlier.
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey also thanked Mr. Biden for taking the time to visit the bridge collapse, which he called “a prime example” of why infrastructure investments are so critical.
“As the mayor of this city, it made me feel proud that the president of the United States had our back and said he would do whatever he can to help us restore that bridge,” Mr. Gainey said.