Washington, Jan 28 (EFE).- President Joe Biden paid a visit Friday to a bridge in Pittsburgh that collapsed hours before his arrival in the Pennsylvania city on a previously scheduled visit to tout his administration’s $1.2 trillion plan to upgrade infrastructure across the United States.
The president, who was born in Pennsylvania, spent time surveying the damage as light snow fell.
He thanked police and firefighters for their efforts to rescue people from the six vehicles – including a bus – that were on the bridge when it gave way at 6:39 am and pledged federal support for repairing and replacing damaged bridges throughout the US.
“We’re going to fix them all. Not a joke, this is going to be a gigantic change,” Biden said.
“There are another 3,300 bridges here in Pennsylvania, some of which are just as old and in just as decrepit condition as that bridge was, including here in Pittsburgh, the city of bridges,” he said. “There’s 43,000 nationwide and we’re sending the money.”
No one died in the collapse and the four people who required hospitalization suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The president then went on to his intended destination, Mill 19, a former steel mill that now houses a manufacturing research and development center, to deliver a speech about the infrastructure bill that Congress passed in November with votes from Biden’s Democratic colleagues and the Republican opposition.
“We don’t need headlines saying that someone was killed when the next bridge collapses,” Biden said. “We saw today, when a bridge is in disrepair, it literally can threaten lives.”
The infrastructure bill provides $1.63 billion for bridges in Pennsylvania.
Prior to his speech, the president toured the Mill 19 facility and saw examples of work in robotics and artificial intelligence by researchers from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University.
With the mid-term elections coming in November, Biden’s visit carried electoral overtones as Democrats are hoping to win the US Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pat Toomey. EFE