Rep John Atkins D-Millsboro wants to make RT 404 a toll road in lieu of the 10 cent gasoline tax proposed by Gov. Jack Markell, will not solve the problem of a cash flow shortage for highway construction, maintenance of our roads and bridges.
His claim is 404 is the entry into Delaware from those traveling to our beaches from D.C. and Maryland. His argument to me for not putting a toll on RT 1 as people from above the canal, PA and N.J. come to our beaches is Rt 1 is already a toll road, but not in Sussex. Our beaches and the eastern side of Sussex County are populated with retirees from northern Delaware and other states, as well as those across the Bay Bridge.
Why not put another toll booth for Rt 1 around Milford and give the tourist a real welcome? We have toll booths in Dover and Odessa. I’ll tell you why that won’t fly; too many legislators have summer homes at the beach or vacation here.
Sussex Countians also use 404; I frequented that route on my many visits with my former wife to the U. of MD hospital, and many more make that trip to Johns Hopkins. I saw Delaware tags all along the highways on my trips there. Raven fans are abundant here as well as Oriole supporters. They would be subjected to those tolls.
Why do politicians evade the difficult decisions? The Highway funding is supported only by the gas tax. Over the years vehicles are getting better mileage, thereby using less gas which equals less tax. The tax has not been raised since 1995. Yet in that time inflation has eaten away at the fund; I have been told a mile of black top runs $1 million.
The population explosion in the late ’90’s and early 2000 resulted in additional roads and bridges, all of which are showing wear and tear and need repairs. The General Assembly isn’t going to give them any money, money doesn’t grow on trees.
I know this is an election and raising taxes is the kiss of death to elected officials; tax bills are usually introduced during an off-election year; the timing is not good, but that doesn’t dismiss the fact money is needed and fast.
The gas tax is not a popular tax, but it is a fair tax, everyone pays the same.