June 22, 2012
Thursday evening (6/21), the Joint Committee on Capital Improvement of the Delaware General Assembly voted – unanimously – to approve capital budgets for DelDOT and DNREC that included $13.25 million dollars dedicated to walking and bicycling.
In other words, we won. We won big. It’s not over until June 30 – when the full General Assembly votes on the bill – but Thursday night was an enormous victory.
We owe a tremendous chorus of thanks to Governor Jack Markell and his dedicated and talented staff, as well as to every member of the committee for their support:
- Senator Robert Venables (D-Laurel)
- Representative Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington)
- Senator George Bunting (D-Bethany Beach)
- Representative Michael Mulrooney (D-New Castle)
- Senator Bethany Hall-Long (D-Middletown)
- Representative Terry Schooley (D-Newark)
- Senator David Sokola (D-Newark)
- Representative John Viola (D-Newark)
- Senator Joe Booth (R-Georgetown)
- Representative Deborah Hudson (R-Wilmington)
- Senator Colin Bonini (R-Dover)
- Representative Cliff Lee (R-Laurel)
Committee members came to this vote with different interests and perspectives. In a highly suburban and car-dependent state, some had to grapple with the practicality and wisdom of investing serious resources in walking and bicycling projects. Ultimately, however, they all voted “yes”. They all voted for the improved economic competitiveness, chronic disease prevention, sustainable and cost-effective transportation options and construction jobs these projects will bring to Delaware.
Do you want to know a secret? One of the most powerful and sadly under-utilized tools of effective advocacy is two words: “thank you“. Folks who serve in government hear this far less often than complaints and entreaties. But Governor Markell and all the members of the committee deserve our thanks. If you have a moment to drop them an email (and ESPECIALLY if you live in the district of one of the committee members), please let them know how much you value their service to Delaware.
We at Bike Delaware would like to give our sincere thanks to Nemours Health and Prevention Services and Delaware Greenways – our close partners in the Walkable, Bikeable Delaware campaign. And we are also especially grateful to all those folks who, on short notice, took time out of their busy schedules to travel to Dover on Wednesday. They were a powerful – perhaps even essential – part of this remarkable and improbable victory.
Just one more week to go until the final vote on June 30.