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Bond Bill committee completes work on 2019 capital budget

Delaware Public Media

The Bond Bill Committee approved more than $816 million for capital projects in the upcoming fiscal year Thursday.

The spending is a nearly 40 percent increase over last year’s $590 million in infrastructure spending.

The committee is allocating $5 million for a school safety fund. It would allow public school districts, vo-techs and charter schools to get full or partial funding to improve the security of their buildings.

And it’s approved $15 million in minor capital improvement funding - which State Sen. Dave Sokola (D-Newark)  said could also be used for school safety projects.

“Minor Capital Improvements can go to roofs, it can go to windows, it can go to boilers and other things, air conditioning units," he said. "They have to qualify, but the minor cap part is eligible for a local district match.”

The spending plan includes $5 million for a pilot program allowing DelDOT to repair neighborhood roads based on road ratings.

The Bond Bill Committee also gives lawmakers about $100,000 more from the Community Transportation Fund, for transportation-related projects in their districts. If approved by the General Assembly, each legislator would get an unprecedented 350,000 dollars.

But that money may or may not ultimately be spent on repairing roads. Committee Co-Chair Quinn Johnson (D-Middletown) said he voted no because he thinks paving roads should be the priority.

“The $5 million for getting the community roads paved - we know is not going to be enough," he said. "If there was going to added money to it, it was our opinion that that should have gone there versus being spread out.”

The committee also approved $10 million each in capital funding for the University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Del Tech. The bill now heads to the Delaware House floor. 

Note: This story has been updated to reflect the final bond bill figures released from OMB on Friday night. 

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