Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester Announce Over $2,000,000 in Reconnecting Communities Grants for Delaware

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.), announced more than $2,000,000 in grants for Delaware through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s FY23 Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) Program. The RCP is a first-of-its-kind initiative to reconnect communities that are cut off from opportunity and burdened by past transportation infrastructure decisions. The funding for these grants came from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Senators Carper, Coons and Rep. Blunt Rochester all helped author and pass into law. 

“The Reconnecting Communities Program is the first-ever federal program to address the safety and pollution impacts of highways that have hurt neighborhoods across our nation,” said Senator Carper, who as Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, authored the highway bill that served as the foundation for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. “When we were working to authorize this program, the projects awarded today were exactly what we had in mind to help explore how we can better support communities in need.”

 “Communities are more important than cars, and our highway system should reflect that. The potential of an initial cap over part of I-95 will reunite neighborhoods, revitalize Wilmington’s West Side, and create hundreds of good-paying jobs,” said Senator Chris Coons. “Even at this early stage, this investment is an exciting development that demonstrates the continuing value of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. I’m also glad to see the two other investments that will keep Delawareans safer and address crucial environmental justice issues at key areas in our state.”

 “A significant focus of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is to modernize roads, bridges, and highways, and to do so through a lens of equity,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “Uplifting our communities was one of the reasons I introduced the Reconnecting Communities Act in 2021, which proposed capping I-95. I am proud that, today, we are celebrating investments in bringing this vision to fruition while pushing us one step closer to righting generational wrongs and bringing communities back together.”

The I-95 Cap Feasibility Study completed by WILMAPCO last year provided a comprehensive overview of what a capping project would look like for the communities of Wilmington,” said Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski. “Thanks to the work of our congressional delegation, this grant award will allow the department to take the next steps of determining the constructability of this concept and how it would be achieved.”

Reconnecting Communities Grant Background:

  1. $2,000,000 to the Delaware Department of Transportation to complete a concept study to construct a cap over I-95 in Wilmington. The cap would reconnect communities separated by the roadway construction in the 1960s and provide greenspace, public amenities, and multimodal connectivity between downtown neighborhoods and Wilmington’s west side. The project limits include I-95 between North Jackson and North Adams Streets and between Delaware Avenue and West 6th Street. 
  2. $240,000 to the Delaware Department of Transportation to relieve the daily burden of heavy truck traffic in the Southbridge neighborhood of Wilmington. It will study the feasibility, impacts, benefits, and costs of alternative truck routes recommended in a recent community-driven transportation plan.
  3. $100,000 to the Town of Georgetown to plan, design, and engineer pedestrian safety improvements at eight rail intersections along the Norfolk Southern rail line. Existing conditions create a barrier to community connectivity by inhibiting access to key local businesses, nonprofits, cultural resources, and recreational amenities.