Coons, Carper say Trump budget threatens Delaware projects [video]

 Ph.D. students at the University of Delaware work in a lab at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute in Newark. (File/WHYY)

Ph.D. students at the University of Delaware work in a lab at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute in Newark. (File/WHYY)

In a visit to the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus, Delaware’s U.S. senators pledged to fight President Trump’s budget cuts that would impact transportation and economic development projects in Delaware.

Just a few hundred feet from the STAR Campus sits the Newark train station. Construction work that will transform the station into a major transit hub is expected to begin soon. That project is being funded by a $10 million TIGER grant awarded in 2012. It’s that type of grant funding that is threatened by President Trump’s “skinny budget” proposal.

“President Trump’s first budget unequivocally confirms that his priority is appeasing his most extreme supporters rather than governing in a responsible way,” said Carper, D-Delaware. 

Earlier this week, Carper and Coons joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in a letter to Senate appropriations leaders urging “robust funding” for infrastructure investments. “A budget is a reflection of our values as a nation; numbers are black and white, and they show clearly where our priorities lie,” Carper said.

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Several projects at UD have also been recipients of federal funding including a $500,000 Economic Development Administration grant for lab space at the STAR Campus. In December, then-U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker made a trip to Newark to name the UD-based National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, or NIIMBL, as the eleventh Manufacturing USA Institute in the nation. NIIMBL has received $70 million in federal funding.

“Cutting in exactly the sorts of research that produces cutting edge new developments that makes us more competitive globally and helps us create great high paying jobs here in Delaware, that’s the last place I would cut,” said Sen. Coons, D-Delaware.

He said cuts in EDA and TIGER grant funding will are shortsighted and destructive. “You can count on me to fight tirelessly to make sure that we don’t eliminate the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and we don’t eliminate Manufacturing USA as a strategy,” Coons said.

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