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'It's A Miracle No One Died:' Pennsylvania Politicians Discuss Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse

By: KDKA-TV Web Team

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - As news of the bridge collapse over Frick Park continues to spread, elected officials on the local, state, and federal levels are all communicating both action and condolences.

Newly-inaugurated Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey was on the scene, along with providing an update via Twitter.

"The good thing is that there are no fatalities and we're going to pray that there are no fatalities," Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said. "We were fortunate, a bus went over, and we had no fatalities. I want to thank the City of Pittsburgh, our EMS, our firefighters, our police, the county for their assistance, and the state for all coming together."

Also on the scene with Mayor Gainey was Lt. Governor John Fetterman, who is also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate this year," he said. "Thank God that school buses were delayed due to weather, so there was less traffic than normal. Thank God there have been no casualties reported at this point. I wish all of those who were injured a safe and swift recovery. This collapse is just the latest in a long line of preventable, man-made disasters that prove what so many of us in Pennsylvania and around the country have been saying for years: Our infrastructure is failing our people. Our roads and bridges, which are supposed to connect us and bring us together, are increasingly putting us in danger."

Governor Wolf said the state is monitoring the situation and as of this morning, Pennsylvania search and rescue teams have been deployed to the area.

Locally, Councilperson At-Large Bethany Hallam provided a statement to KDKA.

"It is a miracle that no one died, and for that, I am extremely grateful," she said. "My thoughts go out to our community members who experienced the collapse as well as the dedicated city employees working hard in the cold and snow to secure the situation. But a bridge collapsing is a sign of failure from all levels of government: federal, state, county, and city. It is not a question of means: billions of dollars flow through local governments every year, most of it just ends up in the wrong places."

Both of Pennsylvania's senators provided statements via Twitter and Democrat Bob Casey is heading to the area from Scranton.

"It's another reminder of the investments we need to make to keep people safe," Sen. Casey said.

WATCH: Sen. Bob Casey Speaks On Need For Infrastructure Spending

"My staff has been in contact with local emergency personnel regarding the Forbes Avenue bridge collapse in Pittsburgh," Sen. Toomey said. "We will continue to closely monitor the situation. Wishing a speedy recovery to those who are injured.

U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle, a Democrat representing the 18th district praised first responders but acknowledged the challenges ahead.

"It was a miracle no one was killed by the bridge collapse this morning," Rep. Doyle said in his statement. "That may be because of our first responders' brave and rapid response to this emergency. I want to thank them for their swift, effective action and wish the individuals who were injured a speedy and complete recovery. The Forbes Avenue bridge collapse will be a major challenge for our community. It will disrupt transportation in Pittsburgh for months to come, if not longer."

He also used it as an opportunity to stress the importance of the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill.

"This is a tragic example of why the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that Congress just enacted is so desperately needed," he said. "
We should be consistently investing more in our infrastructure so our bridges and other public works don't reach this point of disrepair."

Meanwhile, KDKA's Bryant Reed caught up with State Sen. Jay Costa at the scene.

"It's stunning to me, we're very fortunate no one was seriously injured, but for the grace of God this could've been a pretty nasty experience," Sen. Costa said. "It's surprising, the number of bridges here in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County that need repairs, this was really not one of them on the list, so we're surprised that it happened."

From here, Senator Costa said, they're beginning to shift focus on the rebuilding phase.

"I've been speaking with PennDOT quite a bit, I spoke with the secretary of transportation, they pledged their support," he said.

Thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed in 2021, Sen. Costa said that federal money is on the way that will help with this bridge as well as others in the area.

"I do think that you're going to likely see in the city of Pittsburgh, an effort to do additional assessments on all the bridges around the area to prevent something like this from happening again," Sen. Costa added.

WATCH: Full Interview With Sen. Jay Costa

On a federal level, White House Press Secretary said that this collapse will not impact President Joe Biden's scheduled visit to the city.

Also, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the U.S. Department of Transportation was monitoring the collapse.

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