Baltimore Bridge Repair Could Cost Up to $1.9 Billion: Maryland Governor

Joseph Lord
By Joseph Lord
June 16, 2024US News
Baltimore Bridge Repair Could Cost Up to $1.9 Billion: Maryland Governor
A tug boat travels towards the Port of Baltimore as salvage crews continue to clean up wreckage from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the Patapsco River in Baltimore on June 11, 2024. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore revealed on June 16 preliminary estimates showing that it could cost up to $1.9 billion to repair the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The bridge collapsed on March 26 after a cargo ship lost power and ran into the bridge’s supports.

During an appearance on CBS “Face the Nation,” Mr. Moore said that the state estimates a cost of between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion to repair the bridge.

Mr. Moore said that President Joe Biden “has been a phenomenal partner,” and reiterated his request that the federal government pay 100 percent of the bill to repair the bridge.

“The reason that we are urging a federal cost share, and a 100-percent cost share, is just simply because we have to move quickly. And I need to get this done on time and on budget,” Mr. Moore said. “We know that in order to move fast, we’ve got to get that 100-percent cost share.”

Mr. Moore added that they’re working with both Republicans and Democrats in their efforts to get the federal government to pay for all repairs.

“If we can work together in this moment, we are going to get something really important for the American economy done,” Mr. Moore said.

The governor’s comments come just five days after the Port of Baltimore fully reopened after a massive cleanup operation that saw 50,000 tons of steel and concrete removed from the river bed.

Immediately after the bridge’s collapse, President Biden announced that the federal government would assume the burden of all repair costs.

“It’s my intention that federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge, and I expect … the Congress to support my effort,” President Biden said.

Maryland lawmakers were quick to echo President Biden’s call for Congress to pass legislation to rebuild the bridge.

But some Republicans in the House were less on board with that proposal.

In a one-page April 5 statement, the House Freedom Caucus didn’t overtly object to the federal government’s fully funding the project but laid out conditions to secure the votes of its 40 members.

“It’s important that (1) we first seek maximum liability from the foreign shipping companies upfront, and (2) the Port of Baltimore draws upon already available federal funds,” the caucus stated.

Interstate highways are owned and operated by states. The Francis Scott Key Bridge is part of I-695, and its stretch in Maryland is owned by Maryland, which has had budget surpluses in each of its last three fiscal years and has $2.5 billion in its “rainy day” fund.

On April 11, a contingent of all of Maryland’s lawmakers released bicameral legislation to ensure that the federal government would absorb the costs of the billion-dollar project, which could take between five and seven years to be completed.

There’s been no progress on that bill since it was introduced, as disputes continue in Congress over the proper federal response to the disaster.

John Haughey contributed to this report. 

From The Epoch Times