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Biden to travel to Baltimore on Friday to survey Key Bridge damage

President Joe Biden will travel to Baltimore on Friday to survey damage from last week’s collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and speak with local officials, the White House said Monday.

Biden vowed last week to visit the bridge, which collapsed early Tuesday after being rammed by a massive cargo ship, killing six construction workers. The bodies of four victims have not yet been found and are believed to be tangled in the mass of twisted steel and debris.

“The president is continuing to lead a whole-of-government approach to the collapse,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing on Monday while confirming the timing of the visit.

She added that Biden and his advisers continue to work with officials including Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, the state’s congressional delegation and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott “to reopen the port, rebuild the bridge and support the people of Baltimore.”

Biden vowed shortly after the bridge’s collapse that the federal government would bear the cost of clearing debris and rebuilding the bridge. Funding could come from the Federal Highway Administration as well as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, but the project may require additional funding from Congress.

In the meantime, the collapse has effectively shut down operations at Baltimore’s port, affecting about 8,000 jobs and about $2 million in daily wages for those workers, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said last week.

Between $100 million and $200 million worth of trade went through the port every day before the bridge’s collapse, and the port was America’s largest for handling vehicle imports, Buttigieg said.

On Monday, Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration is doing “everything we can” to help address potential economic impacts of the disaster and noted that the Small Business Administration opened two business recovery centers in Baltimore County.

She added: “The Department of Labor is working with local and state officials to determine how to assist workers out of work due to closure of the port.”

Officials have not provided a timeline for the port’s reopening or the bridge’s reconstruction.

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