Transportation and Infrastructure
Keeping America moving forward
Ours has always been a nation on the move. The American economy was built on the movement of people and goods across the continent by road, river, and rail and to the world from our seaports and airports. Today, much of our infrastructure has aged, and we must make critical investments in highways, rail lines, public transit, and airports to ensure that goods can reach markets, employees can access jobs, and businesses are incentivized to invest in new production facilities here in the United States. This includes the development of high-speed rail across the country and upgrading Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. We must ensure that Delaware’s infrastructure can support the needs of a growing state and regional economy.
Senator Coons’ transportation priorities include:
- Deepening the Delaware River. Senator Coons is a leading advocate for deepening the Delaware River from 40 feet to 45 feet in order to accommodate larger cargo vessels. This project is expected to bring an additional 75,000 direct and indirect jobs throughout the Delaware Valley, as well as an increase of 2.5 million tons of cargo per year to the area’s ports. The Port of Wilmington is critical to Delaware’s economy and is North America's number one seaport for imports of fresh fruit, bananas, and juice concentrate. The port’s operations generated over 4,300 direct jobs and about 12,500 related jobs in 2011. The deepening project will allow the port to remain globally competitive, attract new business and investment, create new job opportunities and increase economic development in Delaware.
- Supporting Amtrak and high-speed rail development. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor has long been a critical artery of commerce for Delaware. Nearly every day the Senate is in session, Senator Coons commutes by train to Washington alongside many other Delawareans who are regular riders. He knows how important passenger rail access is to our state, and is proud of the service Amtrak provides to Delawareans. He supports developing a dedicated high-speed rail network in this country because it will reduce transit times, improve access, and lower freight congestion.
- Promoting a national infrastructure bank. Senator Coons is a supporter of the BUILD Act, which would create a national infrastructure bank to bring more private investment into infrastructure projects. This bill would help struggling state and local governments to find financing to repair their critical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, railways, energy networks, water and sewer systems.
- Investing in harbor maintenance. Senator Coons is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Harbor Maintenance Act, a revenue-neutral bill that requires the fees collected from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to be used for just that purpose, maintaining ports nationwide. In 2010 alone, the ports and waterways of the United States were responsible for more than $1.4 trillion in waterborne commerce, but the Army Corps of Engineers estimates that the nation’s 59 busiest ports are available less than 35% of the time because they are inadequately maintained. Senator Coons believes we must repair our maritime infrastructure in order to stay economically competitive.
- Reauthorizing the Water Resources Development Act. Chris helped pass a new Water Resources Development Act, the first in six years, to authorize Army Corps of Engineers projects that will create thousands of new jobs and address critical maritime infrastructure priorities, such as deepening ports, restoring beaches, and protecting communities from floods. The bill also takes an important step toward fixing the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) by requiring Congress to ramp up spending of the HMTF to fix deteriorating ports and navigable channels, a step that will help fund continued maintenance of the Delaware River.
- Reauthorizing the transportation bill. Senator Coons fought for a long-term reauthorization of the transportation bill and was proud to support the bipartisan Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, which provides $105 billion for the nation's surface transportation programs through fiscal year 2014, and will save and create around three million jobs nationwide.