DelDOT proposes spending $3.4 billion over six years

DOVER — The Department of Transportation’s construction proposal for the next six years includes $3.4 billion to be spent on 94 individual projects and several statewide initiatives.

At a meeting of the Council on Transportation, department officials unveiled the proposed Capital Transportation Program (CTP), which ranks road projects by urgency of their need.

The list includes 52 projects that are either new or previously lacked funding. Due to the passage of House Bill 140, which increases a number of Division of Motor Vehicles fees, no construction will be delayed.

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Jennifer Cohan

The $3.4 billion total is broken down into money from the state, federal government and other sources, such as developer funding or borrowed money that falls outside the normal parameters.

About $1.4 billion in state money will be spent over the next six years, according to the proposed CTP.

The state spending comes out to about $233 million annually. DelDOT is spending approximately $191 million on construction this year.

With the draft version now having been presented, the public will have a chance to provide input over the next two months. A hearing will be held in New Castle County at the Newark free library on Aug. 24, in Kent County at the Camden Town Hall on Sept. 1 and in Sussex County at the Georgetown DelDOT building on Sept. 24.

From there, the Council on Transportation will meet again in October to review public comments. The proposal will be voted on in February.

The CTP might undergo some changes as the result of input from state residents.

Of the 94 projects, only 17 are in Kent and 24 are in Sussex.

With DelDOT ramping up its construction, Delaware motorists might notice more traffic delays. That might be an inconvenience, but it more than pays off, DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan said Tuesday.

Some discussion at the meeting centered on the South Frederica grade-separated intersection, located at the planned entrance to the Kent County Regional Sports Complex. While the interchange is number 87 on the list, work is set to begin on it before it does on many higher-ranking projects, which may have greater immediate safety concerns.

The South Frederica intersection will be advertised in the spring, meaning construction could start before summer.

Many planned items that sit higher on the list will not be touched until later because other ongoing projects must be completed first, officials said.

Many of the individual items will not actually start construction for years, as DelDOT must first engage in preliminary engineering and land acquisition, which can take five years or more.

Ms. Cohan said Tuesday the department supports moving some of its operating expenses out of the Transportation Trust Fund and into the General Fund, something advocated by Republican lawmakers for several years.

A total of $5 million was shifted from the TTF this year in the budget bill.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or mbittle@newszap.com. Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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