Biden name will welcome millions of travelers to Delaware

Listen 1:09
Former Vice President Joe Biden and his family join state leaders at the Delaware Welcome Center on I-95 near Newark Monday morning. The welcome center was renamed in the family's honor. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his family join state leaders at the Delaware Welcome Center on I-95 near Newark Monday morning. The welcome center was renamed in the family's honor. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Delaware has not finished honoring favorite son Joe Biden just yet. The Delaware welcome center on I-95 is the latest facility to be renamed in honor of the former vice president.

The Wilmington train station and a city pool where Biden once worked as a lifeguard already have been renamed in his honor. Now the state’s welcome center, visited by more than 5 million travelers every year, bears the Biden name.

Former Vice President Joe Biden greeted travelers and posed for pictures after the ceremony renaming the travel plaza in the Biden family’s honor. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

“I want to say what a special honor this is … you’ve never stopped welcoming me home, our family home,” Biden said while accompanied by his wife, Jill, daughter Ashley, and sister Valerie Biden Owens. “You’ve never stopped welcoming us after all our years in Washington.”

While Biden preferred to travel on Amtrak between Delaware and D.C., avoiding gridlock on I-95, naming the highway’s welcome center after the Bidens was a no-brainer for state Rep. Gerald Brady who sponsored the legislation.

“I can think of no better family to have their name associated with this welcome center than the Biden family,” Brady said. “They have been true ambassadors, not just to the state of Delaware, but to this nation.”

The Biden name has become closely tied to Delaware’s reputation, something Delaware Tourism Office director Liz Keller said is evident when her office makes presentations in other parts of the country.

“They ask us about our beaches, they ask us about our recreation, and they ask us, ‘Do you know Vice President Biden?’ Usually the follow up to that is, ‘Is Capriotti’s [Sandwich Shop] as good as he says it is?’ ” she said.

Right on cue following the renaming ceremony, Biden got to work welcoming a crowd and taking selfies with welcome center workers and travelers.

“It’s so incredibly appropriate to name this welcome center,” said Gov. John Carney. “People just passing through our state will know what an incredible state we are, because we will be associated with our native son, the former Vice President Joe Biden.”

Built in 1964, the travel center was completely overhauled in 2010. The entire original facility was cleared away to make way for a modern, open building that now boasts 42,000 square feet of restaurants and small shops offering most items travelers need.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.