Newark train station to see improvement
Published: Monday, September 3, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 13:09
With the $10 million federal grant given this summer, the Newark Train Station will gain new trains and rail lines to extend to routes that were previously unavailable.
Sophomore Shannon Groth said she is excited that the new rail lines will allow her to travel to more areas.
“It'll be nice to be able to visit my friends in places that I wasn't able to before,” Groth said. “It sounds like the grant is just going to make transportation easier for everyone in the Delaware area.”
Newark Mayor Vance A. Funk III said the university cannot be a practical campus without public transportation and believes it is the one thing the city of Newark is lacking.
“Everyone’s trying to get the upper edge, prove that they’re the best and we’re very close to that, but we have to improve our rail service,” he said.
In addition to improving services and passenger safety, the grant will fund the installation of a new rail line that extends from Newark to Wilmington. Funk said the new rail line is a convenient alternative mode of transportation during the busy hours of the day.
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff stated in a press release that increasing the number of trains and varieties of routes will hopefully curb traffic along Interstate 95, especially during rush hour.
“Newark's new rail facility provides a real desirable transportation alternative to the grueling congestion on the I-95 corridor,” he said.
The grant will not only help get people off the road, but also will aim to get them back to work, Rogoff said. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program has picked up the project and hopes to improve the Newark station’s facilities.
Rogoff said TIGER is already “putting Americans back to work,” and is slated to create over 1,000 jobs for construction workers alone.
Funk said one of the more personal reasons he supports the grant is the addition of an actual full-functioning station, rather than just a ticket window, which will serve 20,000 future students and over 30,000 residents. He said the way the station is now, it is difficult for the physically handicapped to get from the parking lot to the tracks.
Funk said after suffering a stroke several years ago he became more interested in making the station handicap-accessible after he experienced the limitations of the current station.
More job opportunities are coming to Newark within the next year according to Funk, especially those that Bloom Energy, a company that manufactures fuel cell generators, will create.
“They’re going to hire 650 employees next year and probably by the end of 2012 are going to add another 300 to 400,” he said. “They’re good paying jobs, there’s a lot of research.”
With the increasing opportunities for employment coming to the area, Funk said transportation is essential to attract potential residents to Newark.
“They want to be in downtown Newark, they want to live here, they feel that it’s just a really classy city,” he said.