President Biden plans to investigate Baltimore bridge collapse

President Biden is scheduled to travel to Baltimore on Friday to inspect the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, discuss cleanup with Maryland officials and meet with family members of the six construction workers who died in the disaster.

The visit comes as his administration formally requests that Congress appropriate funds to pay the full cost of rebuilding a new gap, which experts estimate will cost billions of dollars.

“The federal government must bear the necessary costs to rebuild the bridge,” Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a letter to congressional leaders. “We continue to assess those costs along with our federal and state partners and ask Congress to join us in demonstrating our commitment to aid recovery efforts by authorizing a 100 percent federal cost share to rebuild the bridge.”

Biden plans to take an aerial tour of the bridge ruins Friday afternoon with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) and other officials. After that, he will meet the officials involved in the rescue operation and give feedback on the disaster.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday a tentative timeline for reopening a ship channel on the Patapsco River blocked by landslides. The disaster crippled the Port of Baltimore and spread economic pain locally and nationally.

The Corps plans to open the 280-foot-wide, 35-foot-deep channel by the end of April, which will allow some ships carrying vehicles and agricultural equipment to move in and out of the harbor again. Officials hope to reopen the entire shipping channel by the end of May and resume normal traffic.

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