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Pittsburgh bridge collapse

Vehicles including a Port Authority bus are left stranded after a bridge collapsed along Forbes Avenue in Frick Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 28, 2022. (Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

'Time to Rebuild This Nation': Fetterman Speaks Out After Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse

"This collapse is just the latest in a long line of preventable, man-made disasters that prove what so many of us in Pennsylvania and around the country have been saying for years: Our infrastructure is failing our people."

Brett Wilkins

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said Friday that the Pittsburgh bridge collapse that wounded 10 people demonstrates how the nation's decaying infrastructure is endangering lives, and that the disaster underscores the importance of earnestly implementing the bipartisan infrastructure law signed by President Joe Biden last year. 

"Our roads and bridges, which are supposed to connect us and bring us together, are increasingly putting us in danger."

"This collapse is just the latest in a long line of preventable, man-made disasters that prove what so many of us in Pennsylvania and around the country have been saying for years: Our infrastructure is failing our people," Fetterman, a Democrat who is also running for the U.S. Senate, said in a statement. "Our roads and bridges, which are supposed to connect us and bring us together, are increasingly putting us in danger."

Fetterman's remarks came hours after Fern Hollow Bridge over Hot Dog Dam Dog Park, on the eastern edge of Frick Park, collapsed at around 7:00 am local time, hours before Biden was set to visit Pittsburgh to tout the infrastructure law. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president will proceed with his planned visit to the city. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports 10 people were injured—three of them seriously enough to require hospitalization—in the collapse, which overturned multiple vehicles and sent a Port Authority bus sliding backward at a 45-degree angle before bridge debris stopped it. The falling bridge ruptured a gas line running below, causing a massive leak that witnesses said sounded like a jet engine. The leak has since been controlled. Emergency responders rappelled 100-150 feet down a hillside to rescue injured victims. 

Appearing on MSNBC Friday morning, Fetterman—who lives near Frick Park—said that "it's surreal to see a bridge you've driven over thousands of times just collapse 60 feet below into the park where people could've been walking." 

"Thank God that school buses were delayed due to weather, so there was less traffic than normal," he said in his statement. "Thank God there have been no casualties reported at this point. I wish all of those who were injured a safe and swift recovery." 

Fetterman's statement pointed to the disatster as proof of "why infrastructure bills like the one President Biden signed into law last year are so important."

"Too often, D.C. politics can feel like insider baseball—and Pennsylvanians are left wondering how abstract legislation helps them," he continued. "But here, the answer is clear. As a result of Biden's infrastructure bill, the state is now getting $1.6 billion to repair bridges like this one."

"Now more than ever, we need to get to work. We need to make use of the legislation President Biden ushered in, rebuild our roads and bridges, and fix our faulty infrastructure," Fetterman added. "In Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, and across America, we cannot afford neglect any longer. It's time to rebuild this nation."


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