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Biden visits fallen Pennsylvania bridge and promotes infrastructure legislation

US President Joe Biden arrived just hours after a Pennsylvania bridge collapsed, peering into the cratered muddy earth where the ageing span had crumbled early on Friday, which had become a dramatic evidence to supportĀ  the $1 trillion infrastructure bill he had planned to promote during his trip to Pittsburgh.

As the scent of gas from a nearby leak filled the air, Biden craned his neck in front of concrete barriers papered with yellow police tape to peer out over the yawning expanse left by the shattered bridge.

“It’s mind-boggling that we’ve been so far behind on infrastructure for so many years,” Biden added.

“We’re going to fix them all,” he promised of the rest of the country’s decrepit bridges.

The bridge collapse, which resulted in no fatalities but led rescuers to create a human chain to retrieve people from a perilously positioned bus, provided Biden with a stark example of what he has declared is an urgent need for infrastructure development in the country.

According to the US Department of Transportation’s National Bridge Inventory, the steel span was built in 1970, and a 2019 inspection found that the deck and superstructure were in poor condition.

The infrastructure plan signed by Biden includes $1.6 billion for bridge maintenance in Pennsylvania, as well as tens of billions more for public transportation, highway maintenance and broadband internet development in the state.

Later, at a manufacturing research and development facility, Biden guaranteed that money from the infrastructure bill will be used to reconstruct the collapsed Pittsburgh bridge and “thousands of other bridges around the country,” but he also indicated urgency in getting the monies dispersed.



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