Delaware To Get Major Increase in Federal Transportation Dollars

Large Increase Would Help Reduce Congestion, Spur Economic Growth

WASHINGTON (Feb. 18, 2004) – Under the surface transportation bill that passed the U.S. Senate last week, Delaware would receive more than a 36 percent boost in federal highway and surface transportation dollars and a 68 percent increase in funding for public transportation services and projects, Delaware Sens. Tom Carper and Joe Biden announced today. That bill, entitled “The Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA), would authorize some $318 billion over 6 years in federal transportation projects, including highway construction and safety, transit, bridge replacement and other surface transportation programs. Under the legislation, which passed on a 760-21 vote, Delaware would receive more than $1.06 billion over six years. Now that the legislation has passed the Senate, it must be combined with a competing House bill, which is set for consideration later this month, before being signed into law. Carper, who serves on the Senate’s Environment and Public Works and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committees, played a critical part in shaping the transportation bill through the committee process over the past year. Carper praised the legislation as a big step forward for Delaware and vowed to fight for the state’s needs as the bill moves through the remaining legislative process. “Located at the heart of the busy Mid-Atlantic region and facing strong growth across our state, especially in Sussex County, Delaware has major transportation needs, so this funding increase is great news for us,” said Carper. “The money can be used to improve highways and build new transit projects in order to curb congestion and increase mobility for thousands of Delawareans.” “The legislation should also provide a healthy boost to the Delaware economy and bring new construction jobs to the state,” said Carper. “This is a good bill for Delaware. It makes significant investments in our roads, bridges and public transportation systems and will create hundreds of jobs for Delawareans,” said Biden. Among the projects that Carper and Biden said could benefit if the bill is approved and signed into law:
• Improvements along the I-95 corridor, including the SR-1/I-95 interchange and the Newark toll plaza.
• Re-design and replacement of the Indian River Inlet Bridge on SR-1 in Sussex County. • Improved commuter rail service between Wilmington and Newark and new commuter rail service from Newark to Middletown.
• Capacity improvements to various roads in Sussex County, which has undergone major growth the past several years. Among the highways identified by the Delaware Department of Transportation as needing improvements are SR-54 and SR-24.
• Transportation Improvements for the Wilmington Riverfront and improvements to US-301 in southern New Castle County. Carper and Biden also helped secure a $12 billion, 6-year authorization for Amtrak. If appropriated, that funding level would help maintain and improve Amtrak’s services, infrastructure and equipment.