The Delaware legislature approved a proposal from Governor Jack Markell (D) July 1 that transfers $40 million in earmarked transportation projects to balance the state’s $3.8 billion operating budget for the 2015 fiscal year.
In January, Markell and Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt introduced a plan to increase the gasoline tax by 10 cents per-gallon and borrow an additional $50 million per year, a move that would have generated $100 million annually to pay for new infrastructure improvement projects. With weak state revenues and a looming election, the two were unable to find any House lawmakers willing to introduce the plan. As a compromise, lawmakers and administration officials agreed to raise weekend tolls on Route 1 by one dollar, a move that will generate an estimated $10 million annually for state and local road projects.
The total transportation capital budget for the 2015 fiscal year now stands at $155 million, a decrease from the $192 million available for transportation funding in the 2014 fiscal year. Delaware’s motor fuels tax has not been raised since 1995, and the gasoline tax currently stands at 23 cents per-gallon.