Tip Sheets

Rebuilding Key Bridge provides ‘opportunity to bounce forward’

Media Contact

Damien Sharp

Maryland Governor Wes Moore will be lobbying on Capitol Hill today in an effort to convince Congress to support President Biden’s pledge to fully fund the replacement of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Rick Geddes, infrastructure policy expert and director of the Cornell University Infrastructure Policy Program, says support is imperative because the reconstruction of the Key Bridge, a major artery in the U.S., is essential.

Rick Geddes

Professor, Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy

“The Key Bridge is a major artery for moving both people and freight through the region, carrying an estimated 11.5 million vehicles annually. The reconstruction of the Bridge is essential and is already affecting how governments, regulators and private companies reassess important aspects of US infrastructure policy.

“Rather than merely bouncing back from this disaster, the bridge collapse offers an opportunity to ‘bounce forward.’ A vast but quiet technological revolution since the Key Bridge went into service in 1977 is transforming how infrastructure is integrated with today’s needs. Improvements in materials, sensors, and designs are now used to strengthen and enhance how infrastructure functions so it is much more resilient to a host of threats.

“Greater contracting with private-sector partners can occur to ‘future proof’ infrastructure. This involves adopting innovative technologies and design standards that allow for longer lifespans. A future-proofed contract either places that risk on a private partner that does infrastructure operation and maintenance or shares the risk, thus helping to ensure that private capital, incentives, and expertise are deployed to make U.S. infrastructure as resilient as possible.”

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