Legislation Would Allow for Potential Dover Mall Toll Road - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Legislation Would Allow for Potential Dover Mall Toll Road

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. -- A package of legislation in Delaware's Senate would pave the way for public-private partnership that could result a new toll road system providing access to the Dover Mall from State Route 1.

The pieces legislation, which have passed the House, would allow for a funding mechanism to pay for the $31 million project aimed at bringing more visitors to the mall, said Attorney John Paradee, who is representing the mall's owner. The plan calls for creating an exit along Route 1 and roads running parallel to the highway to provide direct access to the mall through an area currently behind the structure.

The project would be funded through a bond sale and paying back the debt with toll proceeds, tax increment financing, and special development districts. 

If the road is constructed, Paradee said the mall's long-term future is in question and this road would not only keep the mall viable but also make it primed or expansion.

"We've been in talks with lots of big box retailers who have indicated that if this road is in fact built, then they will come to Dover," he said.

However, some lawmakers have raised questions over the pieces of legislation. Sen. Minority Leader Gary Simpson (R-Milford) said he is concerned about possible lost proceeds if people use the private road to avoid congestion on Route 1.

"That means they're not using the West Denneys Road interchange, which is causing a significant loss, as I see it, to state revenue for our road projects," he said.

Sen. Brian Bushweller, one of the primary sponsors on the pieces of legislation, said taxpayers would not be on the hook if the project failed and the financial obligations would ultimately fall to the mall's owners.

"It's designed to ensure the mall itself is responsible for the modifications," he said.

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