Del. Discussing Ways to Finance Road Repairs - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Discussing Ways to Finance Road Repairs

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

REHOBOTH, Del. -- Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are working on ways to close a $780 million six-year funding gap for road and bridge repairs in Delaware.

Raising taxes and fees are some of the first options lawmakers are discussing.

They're hoping to raise 50 million dollars in new annual revenue that would be matched by a transportation trust fund to finance the repairs.

Governor Jack Markell and state lawmakers have been unable to agree about how to fund new road improvement projects since 2013.

Last year Markell proposed a 10-cent gas tax increase and borrowing to fund a $500 million roadway system improvement plan over five years.

Both Democrats and Republicans rejected the bill.

In his January State of the State address, the governor called on lawmakers to come up with their own funding plans.

Now lawmakers are considering a plan similar to the governor's: raising taxes on wholesale fuel deliveries. It's a potential cost the retailers shoulder at first but drivers could end up paying higher prices at the pump anyway.

Natasha Goldsberry of Newark says paying more for gas outweighs the cost of car damage repairs from potholes.

"I don't feel like it's such a big deal if they went up an extra 10 or 20 cents per gallon," said Goldsberry. "I'm ok with an extra 20 cents if it's going make it so I don't have to get an alignment."

Other options on the table include raising fees at the Department of Motor Vehicles on new car purchases and increasing toll rates again.

Delaware's toll fees increased last August by a dollar, jumping from $2 to $3 on the weekends.

Some people say another toll increase is not a problem.

"That might be better than raising the gas. Most of us seniors don't get to travel that much so we wouldn't have to pay the higher toll," said Richard Bunting, 76, of Lewes.

Seniors like Bunting say a higher gas tax could hurt his financial stability.

"People like myself who only have a fixed income, social security, small pension. If you raise the gas, that's hurting us," said Bunting.

Whether it's at the pump, the DMV or Delaware's toll plazas, drivers may end up paying a little more to repair the state's roads one way or another.

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