President Biden on Thursday will return to the site of a major bridge collapse in Pittsburgh to highlight investments through the bipartisan infrastructure law that are helping to improve bridges in disrepair nationwide.
Biden will speak at the Fern Hollow Bridge in the city’s East End neighborhood, a White House official said. The 52-year-old bridge collapsed in January, injuring roughly a dozen people and illustrating how many of the city’s hundreds of bridges were crumbling and in need of upgrades.
More than 21,000 vehicles crossed the bridge each day prior to its collapse. It is expected to reopen by early 2023.
Biden will be joined on Thursday by Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), who is running for Senate, among other state and federal officials, including Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Reps. Mike Doyle (D) and Conor Lamb (D), and Sen. Bob Casey (D). Biden will attend a fundraiser for Fetterman in Philadelphia later in the day on Thursday.
Fetterman is running to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R) in one of the best opportunities for Democrats to pick up a Senate seat in next month’s elections. His race with Republican nominee Mehmet Oz has tightened considerably in recent months, with a RealClearPolitics average of polls showing Fetterman leading by 3.2 percentage points.
While in Pittsburgh, Biden will highlight how the Fern Hollow Bridge “is symbolic of many other bridges and infrastructure across the country in need of repair” and how the bipartisan infrastructure law he signed in December is making investments nationwide.
The $1.2 trillion law includes $40 billion in dedicated funding for bridges over five years, including $27.5 billion for the Bridge Formula Program, which is set aside for states, tribes and territories to replace or rehab bridges.
The Department of Transportation has already allocated $5.5 billion from that program, of which $353 million went to Pennsylvania. Only Iowa has more bridges in poor condition in the U.S. than Pennsylvania, according to federal data.