Baltimore bridge disaster: Who is going to pay and how?

Politicians, legal experts, and the insurance industry are all grappling with the financial fallout of America's worst infrastructure tragedy in years

The Dali, a Singaporean-flagged cargo vessel that spans the size of almost three football fields, remains stuck under debris from the Francis Scott Key Bridge
The Dali, a Singaporean-flagged cargo vessel that spans the size of almost three football fields, remains stuck under debris from the Francis Scott Key Bridge
(Image credit: Roberto Schmidt / AFP / Getty Images)

It's been less than a week since the Dali, a cargo ship nearly the size of the Empire State Building, struck a support pillar on Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge, triggering a massive and deadly structural collapse. It has become one of the worst infrastructure disasters in recent American history. Six construction workers who were filling potholes on the bridge at the time of its collapse are believed dead as divers on Wednesday switched from "rescue" operations to a grimmer "salvage" effort. Above all else, this is a fundamentally human tragedy. 

At the same time, the bridge disaster's material impact is significant and urgent. Some estimates for the cost of rebuilding the structure hover near $2 billion, even as government officials and industry experts grapple with the "potential impacts on regional and national supply chains" caused by the Port of Baltimore's temporary closure, the White House said on Thursday morning. 

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