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Baltimore voters largely approve of leaders response in Key Bridge collapse, poll finds

Lawmakers from Maryland introduce Key Bridge funding bill in Congress
Lawmakers from Maryland introduce Key Bridge funding bill in Congress 02:43

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore voters overwhelmingly approve of key elected leaders' response to the deadly collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge last month, according to a newly released poll. 

The Goucher College Poll, released Thursday morning in partnership with WJZ media partner The Baltimore Banner, surveyed 705 Baltimore City registered voters last week to learn more about the impact of the disaster and how officials handled it. 

Respondents were asked about Gov. Wes Moore, Mayor Brandon Scott, and President Joe Biden, all Democrats. Moore saw the highest approval from voters by far, with an "excellent" or "good" rating from 74% of those surveyed. 

The governor has held daily press briefings from Baltimore since the collapse. He plans to meet with members of Congress this week to discuss support for rebuilding the bridge, which has blocked the main shipping channel at Baltimore's port for over two weeks.

Mayor Scott and President Biden saw high marks too. Biden, who has made it clear that the federal government should pay for the entire cost of the bridge's reconstruction, had a 62% approval rating, while 61% of respondents approve of Scott's response. 

"Mayor Scott and President Biden both were above 60 percent, which is a really solid sort of standing in the public in terms of response to a disaster," Goucher College's Mileah Kromer told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. 

In an emotional briefing shortly after the collapse, Scott urged Baltimore to focus on supporting the victims of the collapse. He said he has maintained contact with federal officials like Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and this week he laid out the city's role in recovering from the tragedy. 

The Baltimore Banner, Goucher College Poll

Asked about how the collapse would directly impact them, 38% of respondents said it would affect them "some" or a "great deal." But 37% said it would not impact them at all. 

As for how long it might take for the bridge to be rebuilt, 39% predicted it would take four to five years, 35% believed it could be done within one to three years, and 20% thought it could take six to 10 years. 

The poll has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points. The Goucher College Poll is funded by the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College and directed by Dr. Mileah Kromer, an associate professor of political science.

"32% of folks say one to three years. Another 39% of folks say four to five years. Nineteen percent of individuals say 6 to 10 years," Kromer said. "This question I thought was really important and interesting particularly because Joe Biden came out almost immediately and said the federal government would support rebuilding the Key Bridge."

The poll also asked people whether the disaster affects their daily lives. 

"What you see is around 42 percent of Baltimore City residents said it's going to be a great deal or some of an impact on my family—versus 55 percent saying just a little or not at all," Kromer said. "Keep in mind 42 percent of Baltimore city residents is a lot of individuals, so I think this suggests to us this is going to be a large impact. It's certainly going to be an issue that's going to influence the upcoming race for Baltimore City mayor."

New video shows continued salvage progress

A new video from the Key Bridge United Command shows the concerted effort at the site of collapse to remove the wreckage while continuing the search for three missing construction workers. 

Crews continued removing containers off the Dali as part of an effort to gain access to the part of the bridge that remains on top of the cargo ship.

Four more containers were removed from the Dali on Tuesday, bringing the total to 38. There have been 69 vessels have used the two alternate channels. In a new Coast Guard video, a chunk of steel from the bridge is seen on a barge  

The teams will continue moving those containers so long as the weather allows in addition to the parts of the bridge that remain submerged in the Patapsco River.

This is crucial in getting the main shipping channel cleared and reopened for business.

Baltimore bridge funding bill introduced in Congress

Members of Congress from Maryland introduced a bill on Thursday that would pay for the rebuilding of the Key Bridge.

The Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act would have the federal government cover 100% percent of the cost of reconstruction.

Maryland Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Rep. Kweisi Mfume and other members of the state's congressional delegation, introduced the bill on Thursday.

"The sudden collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge was a human tragedy and an economic tragedy—for Maryland and the nation. As we continue to mourn the loss of life and this icon of our skyline, we can simultaneously begin work to heal the wounds created by this disaster. A new bridge can be a symbol of hope and resilience," Senator Ben Cardin said in a statement. "The federal government is an essential partner in this gargantuan task of reopening the Port of Baltimore shipping channel and replacing the bridge with one built for modern-day commerce and travel needs."

'The impact that we're seeing of this bridge is staggering'

Despite impending severe weather, salvage and recovery efforts continue around the clock at the disaster site. The governor said the timeline to reopen the Port of Baltimore by the end of May remains on track. He spoke to The Washington Post today. 

"We have divers—dozens of divers—who are still in the water right now, doing everything from setting up and preparing for the pullouts of steel to being able to look for the still three unaccounted-for souls," Gov. Moore said. "I am fully committed. We are going to bring closure to these families, and we are going to get them the closure that they need."

"The impact that we're seeing of this bridge is staggering. The Port of Baltimore is responsible for about $70 billion of economic activity…not to Maryland's economy but to our nation's economy… By the end of May, we should have the port fully up and operational again," Governor Moore added.

Community mourns victims of Key Bridge collapse

Earlier this week, the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Highlandtown held a memorial to the victims. 

They will have a funeral mass and vigil Saturday for one of the construction workers who died that fateful morning. 

New resources, information

On Thursday, Governor Moore announced a new one-stop website with updated resources on the disaster

The Key Bridge Unified Command maintains its own website with updates.     

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