Maryland officials secure $60M in federal emergency relief for Key Bridge collapse response

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The Biden administration yesterday approved Maryland officials’ request for $60 million in federal emergency relief, putting an initial price tag on the response to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. The cost of responding to the sudden and catastrophic collapse of the bridge after a cargo ship struck one of its pillars, and clearing the waterway to reopen marine shipping to the Port of Baltimore, will certainly grow. President Joe Biden has already pledged for the federal government to foot the bill for restarting the port and rebuilding the Key Bridge, and Maryland’s congressional delegation is planning to push for Congress to approve more funding for the bridge. Maryland House and Senate leaders say they will draft emergency legislation to help workers at the Port of Baltimore following the collapse, including income replacement for about 15,000 workers directly affected by the closure of the port.

What’s next: The federal share for interstate highways, like MD-695 which comprised the Key Bridge, is generally 90 percent. Maryland’s congressional delegation is expected to push for the federal government to cover the full cost. State Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld wrote that the state will request more emergency funding as damage survey teams continue their assessments, and state officials yesterday were developing an early scope and engineering estimate for future costs. The sudden loss of the highway that carries 30,000 vehicles a day and the port disruption will affect not only thousands of dockworkers and commuters but also U.S. consumers, who are likely to feel the impact of shipping delays. The governors of New York and New Jersey have offered to take on impacted cargo shipments in an attempt to minimize supply chain disruptions.

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