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Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester announce $18.8M to improve Delaware-Virginia rail line

Delaware News Desk
From left, Delaware Department of Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, and Mike Arntz, community liaison for U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, celebrate an $18.8 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Transportation to Delmarva Central Railroad to fix its 188 miles of rail and bridges from Delaware to Virginia.

Delaware’s Congressional Delegation of Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, all D-Delaware, along with Delaware Department of Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse announced on Aug. 31 an $18,803,354 award from the Department of Transportation to Delmarva Central Railroad to upgrade its near century-old rail infrastructure.

Delmarva Central Railroad operates 188 miles of track that is the primary rail corridor through the Delmarva Peninsula, providing additional shipping options for rural companies and farmers. In October 2019, the delegation members wrote a joint letter of support to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

“Improving these bridges supports a critical flow of freight on the Delmarva Peninsula, connecting many rural areas in southern Delaware, Maryland and the Eastern Shore of Virginia to the national rail network, supporting major industries and regional employers,” they wrote.

The Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement Program grant will be used along with Delmarva Central Railroad’s $29.4 million investment to upgrade three large, aging moving rail bridges — the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Bridge, Nanticoke River Bridge, and the Pocomoke River Cassatt Bridge. The investments will also upgrade public rail crossings and the main rail line.