Delaware Lawmakers Highlight For Long-Term Transportation Fundin - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Delaware Lawmakers Highlight For Long-Term Transportation Funding

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OCEAN VIEW, Del. - First State lawmakers and DelDOT officials spent the day touring a number of transportation projects Thursday, critical to improving safety on Delaware Roadways, but some of those local lifelines may not get the support they need if Congress doesn't act.

Work to widen Route 26 going to Bethany Beach, is about a quarter of the way finished, but construction hasn't been going as smoothly as traffic is flowing on this Thursday afternoon.

"We have seen 11 times now in the last four to five years, it's been delayed," said Democratic US Senator Tom Carper.

Those delays, the result of back and forth in Congress over the national Highway Trust Fund, a significant aid to local projects like the one adding bike and pedestrian lanes to Route 26.

"We had a bicyclist hit just down the road there.  I would not let any of my family members ride a bike on route 26 on the summer months," says Republican Delaware State Senator Gerald Hocker, of Ocean View.

Earlier this summer, the Senate approved a measure, extending transportation funding until May of 2015.  Work on route 26 is completely funded, but the future of nearly a dozen others throughout the state isn't as certain, including pedestrian improvements on Route 1 between Lewes and Rehoboth, a project which took a task force to get started , after 5 pedestrians died in just 2 years.

"Time is money," said Senator Carper, "when you delay projects like this, it costs money. And that's not a good thing."

One proposed long-term fix for transportation funding is raising the federal gas tax, but that hasn't changed since 1995.

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