Delaware carpooling numbers rise: Odessa Park & Ride to expand

    The Middletown-Odessa area in Delaware continues to grow at a rapid rate. So does the number of people using the park and ride facility in Odessa. Federal stimulus money is now available to expand parking areas.


    According to state transportation officials, an increasing number of commuters are relying on carpooling and public transit to get around.


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    Consequently, facilities like the Odessa/Route 299 Park & Ride are filling up.


    But relief is on the way thanks to a $670,000 expansion project funded by the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act. The money will be used to expand the Odessa lot from 102 to 209 spaces; put in a traffic light; and build a pedestrian and bike path.


    It’s the first transit project underway in Delaware utilizing federal stimulus money.


    “Our contractors are ready to go,” Delaware Transit Executive Director Stephen Kingsberry said moments before a giant excavator officially broke ground just a few feet away.


    Also attending the event were U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Ted Kaufman and Governor Jack Markell.


    “This is great for a couple of reasons,” Markell said. “It’s good for the environment; it’s good for our pocketbooks. But it’s also about jobs.”


    Mike Cirillo, President of Cirillo Brothers, the contractor awarded the bid, says between 40 and 45 people will work on the job, including heavy-equipment operator Kenny Venarchik, whose hours have been cut dramatically during the recession.


    “It’s helped me a lot, it’s brought my hours back up,” he said. “Personally I don’t have to tell my wife I have to look for another job. It was getting scary there for awhile. But this thing saved the day.”


    With more than a billion dollars of stimulus money slated for Delaware, state leaders say more jobs are on the way.


    That includes $140 million for transportation and transit projects.


    “It just makes a lot of sense,” said Carper. “God knows we need jobs. But these are jobs that have a purpose. These are jobs that will allow us to have cleaner air.”


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