Monday’s closure of Delaware’s I-495 bridge has brought to attention the ailing state of Delaware’s infrastructure (not to mention America’s infrastructure). It’s no secret that the infrastructure of Delaware and the entire nation is in desperate need of attention and repair, and most state politicians have agreed, yet few have actually taken action on this issue. Governor Markell has repeatedly called for additional focus on Delaware’s infrastructure, and with the recent bridge closing, so have many more members of the state legislature.
The infrastructural issues of Delaware range from our roadways to our waterways, and none of it can be ignored. With a quick google search any person can find several reports and informative pieces on Delaware’s infrastructural shortcomings. 36% of Delaware’s major roadways are in poor or lacking condition, over 20% of our bridges are either structurally deficient or obsolete, and the state has 65 high hazard dams. This is nothing short of extremely concerning.
Between the many issues, Delaware would need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to actually complete renovations, but in my opinion, this is an entirely necessary investment. Infrastructure itself has a serious implication on how the economy of the state functions. No one truly becomes economically independent without first having attended the schools of the state, using its roads, drinking its water, and benefiting from its renewable energy, port trade, and more. Delaware has recently had fairly slow economic growth in comparison to a large portion of the country, and infrastructural improvements are an easy way to improve economic tension.
Now certainly the state can’t go borrowing piles of money to begin repairs, but even the Governor agrees that it’s time to act. In January, Governor Markell proposed to spend $500 million more on infrastructure over the next five years than originally planned, and this is a start.
Delaware itself has the opportunity now to catch the problem before we allow it to sink too far. Without our roadways, waterways, ports, schools, and all other aspects of the state’s infrastructure, we’ll quickly find ourselves struggling to compete economically with the rest of the nation. Hopefully Delaware can prove to be more productive in improving its infrastructure than the recent efforts by members of the U.S. Congress.