Delegation Announces Delaware Projects Included In Budget Bill
(Washington, D.C.) Delaware’s Congressional Delegation last night supported the Fiscal Year 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which includes a variety of important projects for the State of Delaware ranging from healthcare and environmental initiatives to sewer projects and beach replenishment. The House and Senate both approved the bill and President Bush has indicated he will sign it into law. This marks the end of the debate on the FY03 appropriation bills and the beginning of the debate on the FY04 budget. “While I am concerned that this budget shortchanges some vital homeland security measures, I am glad we were able to secure federal funds to help preserve our coastal communities and upgrade our aging transportation systems,” said Senator Biden. “I was particularly pleased that we got the Byrne Memorial grant money restored in the final bill. These funds help pay for valuable criminal justice efforts in our state, like the Herion H.U.R.T.S. program and Teen Truancy Courts.” “This conference report was a close call for me,” Senator Carper said. “It includes funding for several important Delaware priorities, such as Amtrak and charter schools. However, I was concerned that the overall bill spent too much while at the same time did not invest heavily enough in important homeland security programs and the No Child Left Behind Act. On balance, the bill was a plus for Delaware.” Carper has been a strong advocate for charter schools. The spending bill passed by the Senate last night provides $251 million dollars for charter school and public school choice programs that Carper was instrumental in passing as part of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. The funding will provide support for public charter schools and will serve to empower parents to make choices and have influence over the education of their children. “During this process, I have been fighting to increase funding for education, homeland security, healthcare and Amtrak and to ensure that anti-environmental riders aren’t attached to the legislation in the final hours. Considering all the demands on this budget and the fact we are experiencing a deficit, I think we made strides toward that end,” Castle said. “I am particularly pleased that we were able to fund so many important Delaware projects, including the Delaware Electronic Reporting System to improve disease reporting in Delaware, airport safety studies, and environmental needs, ranging from important beach replenishment projects and upgrades for the Bridgeville and Harrington sewers to land purchases at Prime Hook and the Redden Forest.” Energy & Water $1.5 million to ensure the shore protection of Lewes Beach and Roosevelt Inlet. $500,000 for the restoration of the Pea Patch Island Seawall. $500,000 for Dewey-Rehoboth Beach Replenishment project. $500,000 for Port Mahon beach construction. $500,000 for Cape Henlopen to Fenwick Island beach replenishment. $500,000 for PET Scan for Christiana Comprehensive Cancer Initiative. $300,000 for the Christina River Watershed Study, which will develop an understanding of marine environments and learn more about the environmental factors that affect the Christina River and its watershed. $294,000 to ensure the shore protection of the Indian River Inlet. Transportation $3.5 million for the repair and planning on the Indian River Inlet Bridge in Sussex County, Delaware. $1.15 billion to allow Amtrak to continue to operate this year. $3 million for the Delaware Department of Transportation’s (DELDOT) Delaware Transit Corporation to obtain ten new replacement buses which will be used to implement expanded fixed route service in and around the City of Wilmington, downtown Newark and western Sussex County. $2 million to refurbish the Wilmington Train Station including the installation of a fully accessible station entrance on Front Street. $1 million for the Delaware Memorial Bridge Fendering System. $1 million for DELTrac to implement a real-time passenger information system. $750,000 for a Welfare-to-Work Job Access plan, which will assist welfare recipients throughout the state in obtaining and keeping jobs by addressing transportation needs in rural and urban areas. $400,000 for the Dover Lincoln Park Center Project $100,000 to implement a Strategic Development Plan for Downtown Dover’s West-side which would include a new state office building in a renovated train station, new landscaping, bicycle, pedestrian, and lighting enhancements; and an office and commerce park. $100,000 to develop transportation plan for the Odessa Traffic Planning System in order to meet new development challenges in the area. $100,000 for Georgetown Airport Improvement Program/Homeland Security Study $150,000 for New Castle County Airport Improvement Program/Homeland Security Study. Language requiring the federal government to continue to pay operation and maintenance costs for the St. George’s Bridge until September 30, 2003. COMMERCE-JUSTICE-STATE · $1 million for Wilmington Police to purchase surveillance cameras and other equipment · $1 million for New Castle County Police for new communications system and additional surveillance equipment · $1.5 million for Delaware State Police to upgrade its communications equipment VA-HUD · $7.85 million for the Chemical Safety Board, a federal agency responsible for investigating accidents, such as the one that occurred at Motiva in July, 2001. · $900,000 to upgrade Harrington’s wastewater treatment facility in order to meet its priority water infrastructure needs for the Murderkill River and Delaware Bay, which is designated a national estuary. · $900,000 million to upgrade Bridgeville’s wastewater treatment facility in order to meet its priority water infrastructure needs for the Nanticoke River. · $900,000 million to establish and construct the Delaware Aerospace Education Center in Kent County, Delaware · $450,000 for the UD Metals in the Environment to continue the consortium of scientists and engineers working to further the understanding of the role of metals in our environment. · $450,000 for the Wilmington Development of Blighted Land, which will redevelop vacant and boarded properties that blight many of Wilmington’s neighborhoods. · $360,000 to Wilmington Riverfront Development for the site preparation of an Environmental Education Center along Wilmington’s riverfront. · $180,000 for the Seaford Historical Post Office. Labor-Health & Human Services-Education · $500,000 for the Delaware Electronic Reporting System–statewide, paperless system for reporting communicable and dangerous diseases. This project will improve disease reporting in Delaware by facilitating the collection, analysis, and dissemination of critical public health information and serve as a model for other states Interior · $1.35 million for additions to Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge, specifically the Jones Tract and Issac Tract. · $2 million to purchase inholdings and expand Redden State Forest in Sussex County. · $300,000 for renovation of the Smyrna Opera House, which will be one of only a few of its kind in the country. Agriculture · $290,000 for the Delaware State University Herbarium. · $130,000 for the University of Delaware Institute of Soil and Environmental Quality.