Fall transportation talks sought in Delaware

| 8/1/2005

A Delaware state lawmaker has requested that legislative leaders and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner call a special session of the General Assembly this fall to discuss transportation funding.

Sen. George H. Bunting, D-Bethany Beach, is concerned about any emerging plan to sell highways to private investors.

The state is confronting a backlog of road and bridge work at a time of slowed revenues for transportation, The News Journal reported. In June, the state delayed for a year projects costing about $290 million.

Transportation Secretary Nathan Hayward III has proposed that the state consider long-term sale-lease agreements with private investors for Interstate 95, Delaware 1 or any bypass for U.S. 301.

Minner in June appointed a special task force of legislative leaders to look into a $211 million shortfall in the state’s transportation trust fund, which pays for most of the state Transportation Department’s operating and construction costs.

“This is just too big an issue for a special committee to approve without a full up or down vote by the General Assembly,” Bunting told the Cape Gazette. That’s why I am asking the governor to call a special session in October. We need to hold a hearing, get public input on a question like this and then vote on it.”