Delaware Delegation Gets $11.5. Million for State Transportation improvements, State to Expand Bus Services and Decrease Traffic Congestion

WASHINGTON, DE – U.S. Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper and Congressman Mike Castle today announced $11.5 million in federal funding that will allow the state to build a new DART bus facility, repair and purchase new DART buses, expand routes and services and implement an electronic traffic monitoring system that will greatly reduce road congestion. The bill also includes money to develop a community-wide transportation and economic development plan in Claymont and funding to help Welfare-to-Work recipients get to and from their place of employment. The funding comes through the fiscal year 2002 Transportation Appropriations Budget approved by Senate and House negotiators today. Specifically, the bill includes:

  • $3 million to construct a new bus facility in Wrangle Hill that would allow buses to remain in southern New Castle County, without having to return to the central hub each night in Wilmington. As a result, there will be significantly less wear and tear on the buses, less gas consumption and more efficient scheduling;
  • $4.4 million to continue the replacement of aging 40-foot transit buses and allow for the purchase of three new 30-foot heavy-duty buses. Aging buses that are not in compliance with both the Clean Air Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act will be replaced;
  • $2 million to implement Delaware’s Integrated Transportation Management System (ITMS), a high-tech system that targets 250 miles of the most heavily trafficked roads and installs electronic detection systems, video monitoring, automated interface to police and fire services and many other management and support systems. Through the various facets of the program, the Department of Transportation will be able to better identify problem spots and solutions for traffic problems in general.
  • $750,000 for the Jobs Access and Reverse Commute Grant Program, a component of Delaware’s Welfare-to-Work Initiative. These funds provide non-traditional transit services such as vanpools, feeder services, reverse commute routes and employee shuttles to individuals who have non-traditional work schedules or who live in areas not served by fixed public transportation routes.
  • $100,000 for the Claymont Transportation project. Claymont is a rapidly growing community that lies on a key point on the Interstate corridor between Wilmington and Philadelphia. In order to better shape this growth, the City of Claymont recognizes that it needs to develop a growth plan in an expeditious fashion.
  • $1.3 to build a state-of-the-art ship collision system to help protect the Delaware Memorial Bridge from a potentially deadly barge-bridge collision.

“Delaware did well in this year’s transportation bill,” said Biden. “Better, more efficient buses and additional routes make public transportation more attractive to commuters, saves money, conserves gas and helps us keep our air and water clean,” said Biden. “Plus, I know we all can find comfort in the promise of less congestion on our roads and less time stuck in traffic. These are smart investments with good returns. On a more personal note, I am also very pleased that my old neighborhood, Claymont, will benefit from this bill. The residents of this community are proud and determined and will transform this place of history into a place of promise.” “More funding for ITMS means less time stuck in traffic for commuters. ITMS eliminates the need to build needless new roads by addressing traffic problems where they exist now,” said Senator Carper. ” Mass transit must keep pace with the population growth in southern New Castle county. This new funding helps DART meet that mission. It also ends drivers’ late-night rides with empty buses from south of the canal to storage in Wilmington.” “Delaware, as a cross-road state, is developing like never before, increasing traffic congestion and our need for improved transportation. This bill addresses these needs by helping to fund a new bus facility, modernizing transit buses and identifying hot spot traffic locations,” Castle said. “We are also taking steps to help Delawareans who are transitioning from welfare to work and often have non traditional work hours, causing these employees difficulty in getting to and from work. This funding will help support additional alternatives and cooperative transit services with other social service providers in order to support the working poor.” The funding was reported from conference committee and is expected to pass the House and Senate before being signed by the President.