The Delaware General Assembly voted early Friday morning to approve a capital budget for the state of Delaware that includes a record $20.7 million for cycling and walking improvements.
In each year since the passage of Walkable Bikeable Delaware in 2011 the state of Delaware has made substantial financial commitments to improving cycling and walking infrastructure in the state. The previous record was set in 2012 when the Delaware General Assembly approved an unprecedented investment authorization of $13 million. This morning’s vote, however, blows past that previous record.
The increased support for cycling and walking in the final budget passed this morning is all the more remarkable in that the legislature’s budget writers had less revenue to work with than they thought they would when Governor Markell made his initial budget proposal back in January and they reduced a number of budget lines in the capital budget as a result. But whereas Governor Markell’s initial budget proposed spending $19 million on cycling and waking, the final budget passed this morning actually increased that number by another million dollars.
One of the most ambitious projects that will now be completed with this authorized funding is the Wilmington-New Castle Greenway, a safe, direct, paved, flat and nearly uninterrupted non-motorized six-mile travel route between the Wilmington Riverfront and downtown New Castle. Another project that will gain additional momentum is the Lewes-Georgetown Trail, a 10 foot wide paved trail that will extend a total of 17 miles all the way from Lewes to Georgetown, creating the longest trail in Delaware.
We are especially grateful for the leadership of State Senator Dave Sokola, the co-chair of the committee that wrote the capital budget, and Governor Jack Markell. It’s not a coincidence that Senator Sokola biked to work yesterday (about 60 miles) and Governor Markell biked to work today (also about 60 miles).
• Walkable Bikeable Delaware (Strategic investment in cycling and walking)