Carper, Coons, Carney and Bhatt applaud $13.3 million rail grant

Federal grant to Delaware will help fund construction of a third rail track between Wilmington and Newark

WILMINGTON — Today, Sen. Tom Carper, Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. John Carney (all D-Del.) and Delaware Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt applauded the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) decision to obligate the $13.3 million High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail grant that was awarded to Delaware in October 2010. The move allows DelDOT to begin work on a project to add a third track to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Wilmington and Newark, reducing train congestion and easing delays in a location that is currently a chokepoint for Amtrak, SEPTA, and freight trains. The project is expected to begin this fall and be completed by the end of 2014.

“This investment in Delaware’s passenger rail system will make a positive impact up and down the Northeast Corridor, creating jobs, improving service and increasing reliability,” said Senator Carper. “As a near-daily rider of Amtrak, I know that adding a third rail will bring much-needed improvements to regular problem areas along Delaware’s track, while also expanding and enhancing station facilities and customer convenience. This investment will also help to lay the groundwork for future improvements, both in Delaware and other states, which will accelerate the Northeast Corridor’s continuing evolution as a true high speed rail option. Robust investments in our nation’s passenger rail system will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, cut harmful air emissions, ease traffic congestion and create jobs – and this project is no exception.”

“Rail lines are a critical piece of our state’s transportation infrastructure, so projects like this that increase capacity are very important to Delaware,” Senator Coons said. “This funding will allow DelDOT to add a third track between Wilmington and Newark, effectively removing a major choke point in the Northeast Corridor and allowing increased volume of service through Delaware. I’m glad this federal money has finally been obligated and look forward to work getting underway.”

“The nation’s busiest rail corridor runs directly through our state, allowing Delawareans to move easily up and down the northeast. But with freight trains, Amtrak and SEPTA all currently trying to use two tracks between Wilmington and Newark, congestion and delays can be a problem for commuters,” said Congressman Carney. “This project will create jobs while improving reliability and reducing travel time for the thousands of rail passengers who rely on Amtrak and SEPTA each day.”

“Today’s announcement affirms the state’s ability to make significant right-of-way improvements to its portion of the northeast rail corridor,” said Delaware Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt. “Our agency is in the process of seeking bids for this work to start as soon as this fall. When complete in 2014, these improvements will enhance the speed and reliability of rail service in the area and contribute to the state’s ability to attract new jobs and businesses.”