‘I’m coming back’: Biden touts infrastructure as he makes plans to revisit Pittsburgh


Jaime Ely | Multimedia Editor

President Joe Biden speaks at the Fern Hollow Bridge on Thursday.

By Punya Bhasin, News Editor

With a giant yellow crane and the now-infamous Fern Hollow Bridge in the background, President Joe Biden visited Pittsburgh to make one thing clear — infrastructure is his top priority.

Biden visited the Fern Hollow Bridge on Thursday, where he touted the strength of infrastructure and unions. This is Biden’s second visit to Pittsburgh in the last two months, as he treks across the nation marking infrastructure as one of the hallmarks of his campaign. 

Biden said he wants to put all the “talks into action,” starting with the United States — which is currently ranked number 13 in infrastructure — and making it number one.

“For too long we talked about building the best economy in the world, the best infrastructure in the world, we talked about the best and the safest roads, railroads, ports, airports and so much more, but we didn’t do it,” Biden said. “But now we’re finally getting to it, we’re getting it done.”

Biden also said there are too many bridges in Pittsburgh in poor condition that are in need of repair, which he hopes to fix through his bipartisan infrastructure law — Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The former Fern Hollow Bridge over Frick Park in the city’s East End collapsed on Jan. 28, injuring 10 people and taking a bus and several vehicles down with it.

“Pittsburgh is the city of bridges, but too many of them are in poor condition like this bridge behind me [Fern Hollow Bridge] before it collapsed,” Biden said. “With the bipartisan infrastructure law we’re doing something about it, and this is just one of 2400 bridges across the country that are getting repaired just this year because of this law.”

Biden said he also had big plans for the state of Pennsylvania, including promoting the sale of electric cars within the region, providing clean water access  and providing better internet speeds.

Biden said his federal infrastructure bill does more than fix bridges and will create “good-paying American union jobs.”

The bill allocates money for dams, pedestrian infrastructure and streets. The infrastructure package also includes $170 million for building out electric charging stations in Pennsylvania, plus $20 million to go toward construction of a new terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport. 

The infrastructure bill will also provide about $100 million for high-speed internet throughout Pennsylvania.

“When you see these projects in your neighborhoods [with] cranes going up [and] shovels in the ground, I want you to feel the way I feel — pride, pride for what we can do when we work together,” Biden said.

This is not the President’s last visit to Pittsburgh. In fact, Biden said he plans to revisit the Fern Hollow Bridge again, when the $23.5 million reconstruction is completed in December.

“Normally, you’d be looking at two to five years to rebuild a bridge like that,” Biden said, at the bridge site Thursday. “By Christmas, God willing, I’m coming to walk over this sucker.”

The President ended his speech remarking on the strength and abilities of the American people. 

“We are the United States of America — there’s nothing beyond our capacity when we work together,” Biden said.