WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Senator Tom Carper, top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), Senator Chris Coons, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester and Governor John Carney (all D-Del.) announced a $22.25 million Department of Transportation (DOT) Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant, awarded to Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA), for improvements to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. BUILD, previously known as the TIGER grants program, provides multimodal capital grants to critical infrastructure projects. The grant, which is the largest BUILD or TIGER grant ever awarded to Delaware, will be used to install 80-foot diameter sheet pile cells at the bases of the Delaware Memorial Bridges to better protect the structural integrity of the bridges in the event of a ship collision.
“I often say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is particularly true when it comes to investing in the major assets that drivers in Delaware and all across our region depend on every day. This important infrastructure grant is a win-win for Delaware and our region,” said Senator Carper. “Addressing structural deficiencies on such a critical piece of infrastructure like the Memorial Bridge will improve maritime and travel safety on the Northeast I-95 corridor, support our nation’s commerce industry, and create good-paying jobs here at home. I believe that a strong national infrastructure is one of the most critical parts of our economy, which is why I’ll continue looking for ways in Congress to support more projects like this for our state. I’m proud of our Delegation’s work to secure such a major investment for our state and want to congratulate the Delaware River and Bay Authority on a successful grant application. I’m confident we will see the benefits of this funding for years to come.”
“Millions of motorists travel the Delaware Memorial Bridge every year, and this investment by the United States Department of Transportation is critical to protecting not just those motorists who travel the bridge, but those pilots who captain hundreds of ships below it,” said Senator Coons, member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “We are thankful to Secretary of Transportation Chao for the Department’s investment in this new ship collision system, which will ensure the safety of maritime commerce and maintain the integrity of this bridge to keep travelers safe. This bridge has been well-maintained by the Delaware River and Bay Authority and has an outstanding record of operational excellence. However, it would devastate our region if an accidental collision shut down the bridge. This grant is a great example of how the federal government can partner with semi-private infrastructure authorities around the country to fund needed projects.”
“Last month’s emergency closure of the Delaware Memorial Bridge underscores the critical need to invest in modernizing our nation’s infrastructure. This bridge is an essential channel of interstate commerce connecting supply chains along the I-95 corridor, as well as helping Delaware’s economy grow and thrive,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “I am proud to join our delegation in announcing this record 22-million-dollar grant, which will create jobs, improve travel safety, and strengthen the structural integrity of the Delaware Memorial Bridge for many years to come.”
“Smart investments in our infrastructure will help keep Delaware competitive, accommodate future growth, alleviate costly traffic delays, and create good-paying jobs,” said Governor John Carney. “The Delaware Memorial Bridge is a critical artery along the East Coast and this $22 million investment will help protect the bridge for years to come. Across Delaware - with the help of the General Assembly and our federal delegation - we will invest $4 billion in our transportation systems to upgrade our infrastructure and create jobs. Thank you to Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Representative Blunt Rochester for their continued advocacy and support in Washington on behalf of the people of our state.”
The BUILD program remains highly oversubscribed, indicating the significant unmet need for infrastructure investments. This year, a total of 869 applications were received, totaling $11.6 billion in BUILD grant requests.