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New transportation center expected to be "a catalyst" for Claymont

State and local officials have pursued a new transportation center in Claymont for more than a decade, and a multi-million dollar federal grant awarded to the state is going to bring those plans to life.

Delaware officials announced Friday that a $10 million federal Department of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant will help build a new $40 million Claymont Regional Transportation Center by 2020.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del) said the new Claymont Regional Transportation Center should serve as an anchor in ongoing efforts to revitalize Claymont. It’s going to add at least 2,000 jobs to the city.

“A lot of people were willing to give up on Claymont, and today, Claymont is being reborn and revitalized,” Carper said. “A big part of the catalyst for Claymont in this redevelopment project, the key to it all, is transportation —the ability to get people, goods and services in and out. And this project is the key. This is the catalyst.”

It’s a long overdue change, said New Castle County councilman John Cartier.

“That train station where it is now isn’t very accessible if you’re handicapped, if you have mobility challenges, if you’re elderly,” Cartier said. “What we’re going to do is make a train station that can be used by the entire spectrum of the public no matter what kind of mobility challenges you have.”

The Claremont station is the second busiest station in the state, Delaware Transit Corporation CEO John Sissan said. But it’s not the most pedestrian-friendly.

“So having a new station that’s state of the art, that allows for more people to come here, will be great, and then the redevelopment that’s going to happen around the station will encourage people to take the train to the station itself,” Sissan said.

The new transit center is estimated to cost a total of $40 million. The $10 million grant, announced Friday, will assist in the design and construction of the station, which is slated to be ready in May 2020. It will be built north of the current one at the former Evraz Claymont Steel plant site. The plant closed in December 2013. The 420-acre property was bought in 2014 by St. Louis-based Commercial Development Co. Inc., which plans to build office space and warehouses there. 

Calls to replace the Claymont station, which lacks parking and is not fully ADA compliant, date back to a 2005 improvement plan.