WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation, released the following statement on the news that Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has declared a limited state of emergency and the Obama Administration has agreed to immediately provide $2 million in federal funding to continue to assess and begin to repair the I-495 bridge over the Christina River.
“I commend Gov. Markell and Delaware Transportation Sec. Bhatt for swiftly taking the necessary steps to secure emergency federal funding to repair the I-495 bridge. I also want to thank U.S. Transportation Sec. Foxx for his immediate attention to this issue, which has significant consequences for any travelers from Delaware or other states using the I-95 corridor. The bridge and roadway’s closure, which sees approximately 90,000 vehicles a day, will continue to have a major impact on interstate travel until the issue is resolved and the bridge is reopened. I am closely monitoring the situation and, while we are still gathering information about the nature of the problem and what resources are needed to address it, I have full faith in the leadership of Gov. Markell and Sec. Bhatt, along with the Obama Administration, to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that travelers in Delaware are safe and that this issue is resolved as soon as possible.
“The impact of this closure is an important reminder that having high quality transportation infrastructure has a critical impact on both people’s lives and their livelihoods. While this bridge closure does not appear to be a lack of funding, we know that one in nine bridges around the country is classified as structurally deficient. Congress and the administration have an important responsibility to help support our transportation system. If we don’t act soon to shore up the Highway Trust Fund and provide cities and states the funding certainty they need to complete regular maintenance and repairs, other bridges and highways around the country could also face unexpected closures.”