Senators: $97.5 Million For Amtrak Projects To Benefit Delaware

WASHINGTON – Delaware U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Ted Kaufman (both D-Del.) today joined Vice President Joe Biden in announcing nearly $97.5 million in new economic recovery funds that will benefit Amtrak-related projects in Delaware.

Among the projects that will benefit from congressional passage of President Obama’s economic recovery package are:  $58.5 million to refurbish 59 train cars at the Amtrak shop in Bear; $21 million for the Wilmington Station Restoration project; and $3 million for security upgrades at Amtrak facilities in Delaware.

"Today’s announcement is about jobs – both for Delaware’s Amtrak shops and those businesses associated with refurbishing the Wilmington train station," said Sen. Carper, a former Amtrak board member who also commutes daily by train from Wilmington to Washington, D.C. "In the short-term, this money will put a lot of Delawareans to work.  In the long-run, these upgrades will help reduce traffic, oil consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and household transportation costs."

Sen. Carper, also a member of a key Senate environmental committee and strong supporter of alternative energy and transportation, emphasized that: "One of the best ways we can help Americans struggling with economic problems is to give lower cost transportation alternatives, like a healthy and vital Amtrak. When gas prices increase, so has Amtrak ridership, because Americans are desperate for transportation alternatives that are more fuel efficient and are good for the environment.  Amtrak transported more than 26 million passengers in 2008, an 11 percent increase over 2007."

"Rail travel is clean, safe and efficient – these investments in our future are creating jobs today," said Sen. Kaufman, who has used Amtrak since the early 1970s. "Because of the recovery package, almost $100 million will be spent in Delaware restoring old equipment like coach cars and locomotives, improving the Wilmington station, and replacing water and power systems. This is another example of the crucial role Delaware plays in our nation’s efficient railway system."

TOTAL – $97.5 Million – Delaware

– Rolling Stock Refurbishment and Repair: The stimulus package gives Amtrak its first opportunity ever to return to service decommissioned and stored equipment, including locomotives, coach cars and food service.  This includes $58.5 million for 59 AMFLEET cars to be refurbished at Bear, Delaware.

– The Wilmington Station Restoration: $21 million represents to bring this historic and important Amtrak facility back to a state of good repair. In this case, the station is in a serious state of disrepair with waterproofing failures that have led to damage of the track beds, platforms and station infrastructure. In addition to correcting these problems, the station will have both internal and external restorations.   Wilmington is the nation’s 11th busiest station, with more than 90 trains passing through Delaware on a daily basis, bringing nearly $6 million in Amtrak goods and services to the state last year alone.

– Orange Street (train) Bridge: $5 million will be spent to make repairs to the Orange Street bridge in Wilmington.

– Security Upgrades: approximately $3 million will be invested in security upgrades at Bear, Wilmington, the Consolidated National Operations Center and Wilmington Station.

– Northeast Corridor Improvements: $10 million will be spent on projects on the Northeast Corridor, including bringing facilities into a state of good repair; replacement of power and water systems; restoration of drainage system along right of way; and improvements to platform lighting.