Governor Josh Shapiro announced I-95 will reopen within two weeks, after taking a helicopter tour of the collapsed section of Northeast Philadelphia with President Joe Biden on Saturday morning.
“We are getting it done here in Philly,” Shapiro said at a press briefing at the Philadelphia International Airport, alongside Mayor Jim Kenney, Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman, and Congressman Brendan Boyle.
“I can state with confidence that we will have I-95 reopened within the next two weeks,” Shapiro said. “We are going to get traffic moving again thanks to the extraordinary work that is going on here.”
Biden said he has prioritized the repair and described it as an “all hands on deck” project. He also thanked the union workers who are rebuilding. “The union crews have been hard at work 24/7 since the crash,” said Biden.
The section of I-95 between Cottman and Aramingo avenues collapsed last Sunday after a truck carrying gasoline flipped over and caught fire under the overpass, killing the driver, Nathan Moody. An average of 160,000 vehicles use the highway daily.
“I’ve directed my team…to move heaven and earth to get this done as soon as humanly possible,” Biden said. “There’s no more important project right now in the country as far as I’m concerned.”
Gov. Shapiro shared details on Thursday of how the bridge will be temporarily fixed. He said the gap between the two I-95 sections will be filled in and then paved over, until a new one is constructed. Shapiro said there’s $7 million in state funds to start the project, and an additional $3 million in federal money has been allocated so far.
After the I-95 briefing, Biden rallied with around a thousand union workers at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philly. It was the first rally of his 2024 election campaign.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, but I’ve never felt the sense of camaraderie and pride that I feel today and this year,” opened Biden, who calls himself the most pro-union president in American history.
Biden cited the early endorsements of some of the most powerful unions in the United States, including the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
“If the investment bankers in this country went on strike tomorrow, no one would notice. But if this room didn’t show up for work tomorrow, the whole country would come to a grinding halt,” Biden said.
Republicans have blamed Biden for high inflation rates, and have criticized him for his approach to many issues, including his Medicare spending and the debt ceiling.
Biden touted his work creating jobs and supporting the working and middle class and said he wants to get rid of special interest tax loopholes for America’s largest corporations and increase taxes on the mega-rich. He said the country’s billionaires pay just an 8% tax rate.
“The bottom line is this: It’s time the big corporations, the very wealthy, start paying their fair share,” Biden said.
Crowd member and electrician from Boston, Sade Dallas, 36, said, “I think he’s definitely opening up a window for us to be able to stay employed and take care of our families. He’s for the middle classes, he’s for us.”
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