Sen. Chris Coons joined his colleagues on the committee to approve annual appropriations bill for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies, which supports Coons’ priority of investing in America’s transportation infrastructure.
Coons fought for $1.6 billion in funding for Amtrak and for rail development programs recently authorized through the Fast Act: $92.5 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements, $26 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair and $5 million for Restoration and Enhancement Grants. Coons also fought for $3.6 billion for the Airport Improvement Program and $45 billion for the Federal-Aid Highways Program. The funding for Amtrak will ensure that rail passengers are able to easily move to and from Wilmington for business and personal reasons. The Airport Improvement Program has funded upgrades in the past few years at a number of airports throughout the state. Funding for the Federal-Aid Highways Program supports Delaware highway systems by providing financial assistance for construction, maintenance and operations.
“We value our infrastructure, and we need to continue these investments,” Coons said. “These investments are important to our families and children so they can enjoy safer highways, modern airports, and quality rail service now and into the future.”
Coons also fought for an increase to $550 million for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program. While President Donald Trump had proposed eliminating the TIGER grant program, the Appropriations Committee rejected this idea. The TIGER grant program is helping fund infrastructure projects through a competitive grant process. The TIGER grant program helps state and local governments pay for new highways and bridges, public transit projects, railways and port infrastructure; and finances innovative shovel-ready projects to improve the U.S. transportation system. The recent announcement in Newark rail station improvements will be partially funded by TIGER grants. Delaware has received four TIGER grants that have been used to design and build the Newark rail station, improve the port of Wilmington, and build the new Claymont station.