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From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short

From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - August 11, 2023

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law by President Biden in November 2021, will provide $1.4 billion in state funds for highway and bridge investments in Delaware over the next five years, including a 54% funding increase.  Federal funds currently support 38% of the state’s transportation department spending on highway and bridge improvements.

According to TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, a total of 35% of Delaware’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.  A total of 2% of Delaware’s bridges are rated in poor/structurally deficient condition, meaning there is significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge.  A total of 41% of the state’s bridges are at least 50 years old, an age when many bridges require significant rehabilitation or replacement.

The Federal Highway Administration’s national highway construction cost index, which measures labor and materials cost, increased by 28 percent during the first three quarters of 2022. Construction cost inflation, the erosion of motor fuel taxes due to inflation, improved fuel efficiency, and the adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles are sited as challenges to the state’s ability to keep pace with growing transportation needs. While these funding challenges mount the report states that driving on deteriorated roads costs Delaware motorists $386 million a year – $475 per driver – in the form of additional repairs, accelerated vehicle depreciation, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

As we all know, Investments in the surface transportation system boosts Delaware’s economy in the short-term by creating good paying jobs.  In the long-term, they increase economic competitiveness, improve traffic safety, and reduce traffic delays.

The TRIP report also states that the design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Delaware supports approximately 14,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state’s economy.  Approximately 188,000 full-time jobs in Delaware in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the quality of the state’s transportation network. The full Delaware analysis as well as other state’s reports can be viewed here.

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