Delaware to See 24 Percent Increase in Federal Transportation Dollars

Six-Year Transportation Bill Would Help Reduce Congestion, Spur Economic Growth

WASHINGTON (March 16, 2005) – Delaware will see a 24 percent increase in federal transportation dollars under legislation approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday. Sen. Carper, a member of the panel who helped write the legislation, joined other committee members in unanimously approving the bill. The bill, titled the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Act (SAFETEA), would authorize about $230 billion over six years in federal highway projects, including safety, bridge replacement and other surface transportation programs. Under the legislation, Delaware would receive $906 million over six years – nearly a 26 percent increase compared to funding levels in the previous six-year federal transportation bill, which expired last year. “Given its location along the Northeastern Corridor and the recent explosion of growth in Sussex County, Delaware has critical transportation needs. We can put the extra dollars in this bill to very good use,” said Carper, a member of the committee’s Transportation Subcommittee, which was charged with writing the legislation. “The money will help us curb congestion and increase mobility for all Delawareans and tourists who travel through our state.” Carper continued, “The legislation should also provide a healthy boost to the Delaware economy, bringing new construction jobs to our state.” An additional transportation title, authorizing nearly $54 billion in state transit projects, is expected to pass the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. The transportation and transit titles will be married into one piece of legislation and brought to the floor, likely in April. Among the projects that Carper said could benefit under the legislation are: 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. Capacity improvements to various roads in Sussex County, which has undergone dramatic growth in 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.