In a scathing editorial featured in “County Comments”, the Civic League of New Castle County continues raising serious questions regarding DelDOT’s Route 301 By-Pass project. Concerns include the approximate $6M per year for operation and upkeep added to the existing $134M debt service paid on an annual basis.
Think of what political will could have given Delaware instead, had our leaders (in the 1990s) opted to include high speed rail as part of the Route 1 project: Faster, more efficient mobility, enormous energy savings, and reduced environmental damage.
How many Delawareans do you know that would rather not drive round trip to the beech on the weekend, given fuel costs, congestion, and stress? VMT (vehicle miles traveled) is stable or actually declining throughout the US. Isn’t it fair to assume that high speed rail – which should be built instead of the Route 301 By-Pass in any case – would reduce traffic sufficiently for our existing infrastructure? Or provide a traffic-free alternative?
On a national scale, benefits of such a system include:
- Pays for itself by significantly reducing our $700 billion a year oil purchase trade deficit
- Offers a convenient, comfortable way to travel without hassles or delays
- A major step toward solving global warming by reducing our oil consumption and emissions
- Drastically reduces our oil addiction and lowers our risk from the coming peak oil crisis
- Lowers our dependence on costly military operations securing oil flow around the world
- Lowers our national security risk, and ends wars for oil
- Freedom from oil – Powered by clean electricity from renewable energy sources: wind, solar, geothermal, ocean/tidal
- Safe, affordable, green transportation for everyone
- Saves lives (43,000 Americans die each year in car accidents)
- Provides efficient mobility that moves people and goods without delay and waste
Instead, we have this ginormous project going forward that will cost everyone dearly, including non-motorists as well as those who will never use the by-pass. It will impede non-motorized travel, increase sprawl, noise, pollution, and fly in contempt of every benefit listed above. The end result will be a further degraded environment and quality of life in Delaware.
We cannot go on building our way out of traffic congestion anymore than an obese person can solve a weight problem with a wider belt. Simply put, save the roughly $600M this project will cost and put it toward clean, green, safe transportation alternatives.