Building America’s Future
City Councilman Darius J. Brown joins national coalition to support U.S. investment in infrastructure. See recent oped and communications from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and U.S. Department of Transportation.
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that funding for transportation programs, like repairing or maintaining roads and bridges, will run out before the summer is over. I am sponsoring a Wilmington City Council resolution that urges Congress to authorize adequate resources for the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Infrastructure investment is vital to our national transportation network and vital to our city.
For Wilmington, transportation keeps our local economy moving and growing and ensures that freight gets to its intended destination. The city of Wilmington owns and manages three-fourths of the streets and roads within the city’s borders which add up to a total of 188 miles of surface infrastructure.
In the third council district alone, which I represent, I-495, U.S. 13 (Market Street) and Alternate U.S. 13 (Northeast Boulevard) are critical gateways for the city and are used multiple times each day by residents and visitors alike.
Locally, the recent closure of I-495 has caused a traffic nightmare for those who frequent the interstate system in Delaware. The 90,000 vehicles that cross the I-495 bridge daily have been diverted to alternate routes many of which include Third District neighborhoods.
Days of bottlenecked traffic and congestion along Northeast Boulevard from the 11th Street Bridge to 28th Street northbound has been somewhat alleviated, however, the impact on our local streets is worsening each day. Potholes are becoming craters and big rig trucks are becoming a threat to aging housing stock along Church and Spruce streets.
Federal infrastructure investment has serious local implications and that’s why Congress should pass the GROW America Act, which, over four years proposes spending $199 billion for highway programs and $72 billion for transit programs.
The legislation also adds a rail title that fosters coordination among all the surface transportation modes and authorizes the TIGER grant program which assists with capital investment in surface transportation infrastructure and includes up to $35 million for project-level or regional planning grants.
It is imperative that the nation have a multiple-year surface transportation bill that provides local economies like Wilmington with the resources to keep up with transportation needs. It is also important that local officials maintain a strong role in selecting the projects that will help strengthen and support community growth.
Failure to act will force many projects to come to a halt indefinitely and deplete Wilmington’s transportation budget.
Wilmington City Councilman Darius J. Brown (D-Third District) is a member of Building America’s Future, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials dedicated to bringing about a new era of U.S. investment in infrastructure that enhances our nation’s prosperity and quality of life. Follow him on twitter @DariusJBrown @BAFuture.