Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester Announce $500,000 to Study Rail Service Expansion in Delaware

Funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) today announced the award of a $500,000 Corridor Identification and Development grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to the Delaware Transit Corporation to study rail service in Delaware.

Funding for this grant came from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Senators Carper and Coons and Rep. Blunt Rochester all helped author and pass into law. The state will use this grant to fund a study of a new corridor that would connect at least one point on the Northeast Corridor in northern Delaware (Newark or Wilmington) with a point in eastern Maryland (Salisbury or Berlin) via central Delaware, including Dover. The proposed corridor would provide new service on an existing alignment. The corridor sponsor would enter step one of the program to develop a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing, completing, or documenting its service development plan.

“As a near-daily Amtrak commuter, I know that rail service is not only a great way to travel but also an important solution to reducing roadway traffic and transportation emissions,” said Senator Carper, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “This grant award will help explore new rail service in the Delmarva Peninsula and is one of many to strengthen our nation’s rail infrastructure.”

“These funds are a great step forward toward an exciting potential new corridor that will create more opportunities for commuters, visitors, and families,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons. “I know the absolute talent and ability of the Delaware Transit Corporation, and I’m confident they’ll find the best way possible to open up more of the region to travelers to and from the First State.”

“Investing in our transportation infrastructure, especially passenger rail, continues to be a top priority of mine and the Biden Administration,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester, member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I look forward to seeing the results of this study, made possible through federal dollars, that could help improve passenger rail across our state and boost our state’s economy.”

Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski commented, “This is the first step of a years-long, multi-step process to become eligible for federal funding that will be needed to provide expanded rail service in Delaware. This study will provide us with valuable information and guidance on what service could look like and cost.”

“Restoring commuter rail to downstate Delaware will expand the number of good-paying jobs that are within reach of neighbors while also expanding the workforce pool that local businesses can draw from,” said State Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee and the Joint Capital Improvement Committee. “In a state that’s only 95 miles long, runs in a straight line from north to south, and already has unused train stations in almost every town, commuter rail just makes good economic sense. I’m grateful to the Federal Railroad Administration for providing this funding so that we can take the next step toward reestablishing passenger rail service south of Newark.”

“I’m thrilled that the we’re taking this critical first step toward creating a more sustainable and inclusive form of transportation for residents. A rail corridor running through our state would make all the difference in tackling some of our most pressing transportation issues; job access, private car pollution, and traffic congestion,” said State Rep. Kerri Evelyn Harris. “This proposed corridor has the power to be a multifaceted connector, enhancing our lives in countless ways. Beyond linking communities, it will allow families to connect in new ways, open up new opportunities for Delawareans, and address longstanding transportation needs, especially in the southern regions of our state.”