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Biden administration asks for emergency funds for Key Bridge replacement

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The White House on Friday reiterated its support for full federal funding to replace the Francis Scott Key Bridge in a request to Congress for $4 billion in emergency disaster relief funding.

聽from Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young to House Speaker Mike Johnson said the money, an add-on to an October supplemental budget request, is needed to respond to the Key Bridge disaster, the wildfires in Maui and tornado victims in Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Midwest. It also cited the need to be prepared ahead of what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted will be an 鈥渆xtraordinary鈥 hurricane season.

Of the requested $4 billion, the letter asks for $3.1 billion 鈥渇or repairing and rebuilding highways and roads that have been damaged in disasters and other emergencies across the Nation, including the cost of rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. 鈥

While the letter does not specify a particular amount of funds for the Key Bridge, it repeats the administration鈥檚 intent to fully fund the replacement at federal expense, as has been done in聽聽in the past.

The letter also encourages Congress to fund the cleanup efforts by the U.S. Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers that allowed for the reopening of the shipping channel into the Port of Baltimore on June 12, almost three months after the container ship Dali slammed into the Key Bridge and sent it tumbling into the Patapsco River. And it said it planned to work with Congress on tax relief for longshoremen who were forced to draw on their retirement plans when work at the port dried up.

Initial estimates on costs of replacing the Key Bridge replacement have put the price tag at upwards聽聽and projected that it will take years to complete. The state and the White House have said that they expect to recoup at least some of those costs through insurance payments from the shipping company that caused the crash.

While the Biden administration has pledged full funding, that decision will be largely in the hands of the Republican-controlled House. Rep. David Trone (D-6th), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statment Friday that the House 鈥渕ust put politics aside and deliver results.鈥

That was echoed by Gov. Wes Moore (D). 鈥淣ow, it鈥檚 time for Congress to come together and pass the critical measures necessary to rebuild the bridge for the good of our nation鈥檚 economy,鈥 Moore said in a statement released by his office.

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