Markell Calls for $500 Million for Road Infrastructure - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Markell Calls for $500 Million for Road Infrastructure


DELAWARE - In his State of the State Address Thursday evening, Governor Jack Markell outlined a new direction for the states infrastructure, and in doing so called for an increase of $500 Million over the next five years. This additional spending would bring the total investment to $1.1 Billion. 

This money would be used for projects across the state, and is meant to improve safety and congestion, according to the governor. 

"Infrastructure investments create high-paying, middle class jobs toady," he said in his address. "And they lay the foundation for future prosperity."

He said the hefty investment was a worthwhile one because it would address some of the major issues with the state's roads. 

"I think it's time we stop complaining about the sorry shape of our transportation trust fund," he said. "And fix the underlying issue." 

In Sussex County, the "Capital Transportation Program Request" documents asked for a wish list of projects, they want addressed by 2020. On that list are East-West Improvements such as those to Routes 24, 26, and 9. It also calls for improvements on North-South highways like Route one. 

But leaders in this county are also hesitant about these projects, arguing tax increases in a bad economy are not the answer. Steve Smyk lives off of Route nine in Milton. 

"In a fragile economy, I don't believe we can win back the economy by taxing our public," he said. 

And this debate continues amongst residents of Delaware as well. Janice Edler of Lewes told WBOC that the construction was essential to the state. She said the single-laned highways, traveling East to West were a huge risk. 

"Routes 9 and 404 where it's not double scares me," she said. "I'll avoid them like the plague. I'll take a back-road to avoid them." 

But Gary Werbeck, a former resident of the tax-heavy Connecticut area, said taxing drivers is a bad idea.

"I think instead of raising the gasoline tax, you should increase the tolls," he said. "Because that way the out of staters are paying more revenue than the in-staters." 

And the big question is about how the infrastructure changes will be paid for. On Thursday, the governor is set to release his plan for the budget. That is expected to paint the picture for how he hoped to pay for these changes. 

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