President Joe Biden was taking an aerial tour Saturday of the collapsed stretch of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia and planned to meet with first responders and workers involved in rebuilding the critical stretch of highway along the East Coast.
Joining Biden on the presidential Marine One helicopter were Gov. Josh Shapiro, Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman and Rep. Brendan Boyle and Mayor Jim Kenney, all Democrats. Afterward, the president was to receive a briefing on the situation and then attend a political event with union workers at the city’s convention center.
The White House said Biden’s movements in the city on Saturday would not interfere with traffic around I-95, its detour routes or reconstruction efforts.
“President Biden has instructed his team to move heaven and earth and work around the clock to ensure the fastest possible reconstruction of the highway,” Olivia Dalton, the White House principal deputy press secretary, said Friday.
The stretch of the East Coast’s main north-south highway collapsed early last Sunday after a tractor-trailer hauling gasoline flipped over on an off-ramp and caught fire. State transportation officials said the driver was trying to navigate a curve and lost control.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who visited the area Tuesday, promised that the federal government would provide the needed assistance to repair the destruction, although he warned that the wreckage will likely raise the cost of consumer goods because truckers must now travel longer routes. It could take weeks, if not more, to repair the area.
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