Delaware To See 36 Percent Increase in Federal Transportation Dollars

Large Increase Would Help Reduce Congestion, Spur Economic Growth

WASHINGTON (Jan. 21, 2004) – Delaware could receive nearly a 36 percent boost in federal transportation dollars under a new highway and transportation bill soon to be considered in the U.S. Senate, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper announced today. That bill, tentatively titled the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA), would authorize some $255 billion over 6 years in federal transportation projects, including highway construction and safety, bridge replacement, and other surface transportation programs. Under the legislation, Delaware would receive some $987.7 million over six years – nearly a 36 percent increase compared to funding levels in the previous 6-year federal transportation bill, which is set to expire next month. Carper, who serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, played a critical part in shaping the transportation bill, which passed out of the committee in November. The legislation is scheduled to see floor action in the Senate during the month of February. If passed, any differences between the Senate bill and a competing House measure would have to be resolved before the bill could be signed into law. 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 legislative process. “Given its location along the Northeastern Corridor and because of the recent growth in Sussex County, Delaware has a lot of transportation needs, and we certainly can put the extra dollars in this bill to very good use,” 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. Among the projects that Carper 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. — 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.