The Lead

At site of collapsed Pittsburgh bridge, Biden touts benefits of infrastructure law

By: - October 20, 2022 3:49 pm

An Allegheny County Port Authority bus involved in the collapse of the Frick Park Bridge on Friday, January, 28, 2022. (Pittsburgh City Paper photo).

Standing in front of the replacement for the collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge, President Joe Biden returned to Pittsburgh on Thursday, touting the benefits of federal infrastructure law and proclaiming “the resurgence of American manufacturing.”

“Hello, Pittsburgh!” Biden said, opening his remarks to a crowd of about 100 onlookers, that included Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who’s running for U.S. Senate, and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., as well as other local elected officials. 

“This is going to be painfully short,” Biden said, referring to the day’s fall chill. 

The rapid work to replace the bridge, which collapsed on a snowy January morning, was a demonstration that “America is the only country in the world that comes out of crises stronger than we went in. … And that’s the story I want to tell here,” Biden said, according to WESA-FM in Pittsburgh.

Biden reached the bridge site around 12:56 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, delivering a brief speech that lasted around 16 minutes, according to pool reports. 

Biden signed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law last November, about two months before the bridge collapsed on Jan. 28, just as the Democratic president was getting ready to visit the city.

And while the money to rebuild it did not come from the law, Biden said that with the money in the pipeline, state officials were able to move already-allocated money to fast-track repairs, WESA-FM reported. 

The repair work, which might ordinarily have taken two to five years to complete, will be done in a year’s time, with the bridge due to reopen this winter, according to WESA-FM and the White House. 

The bridge was one of about 45,000 in poor condition nationwide that needed to be repaired or replaced, Biden told the crowd, according to pool reports. 

“Pittsburgh’s the city of bridges, but too many of them are in poor condition,” Biden said, according to WESA-FM. “This is just one of 2,400 bridges across this country that are being repaired just this year because of this law.”

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.