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DelDOT submits FY 2020 budget request

Delaware Public Media

The Delaware Dept. of Transportation heard from members of the public during a budget hearing for fiscal year 2020.

DelDOT Sec. Jennifer Cohan is asking for $367.27 million for FY 2020.  That's a nearly $15 million more than the current year's $352.4 million budget, or about a 4 percent increase.

DelDOT also plans to spend $4 billion on capital projects over the next 7 years using a combination of federal and state funding.

The agency has several initiatives scheduled in the next fiscal year. They include all electronic tolling when U.S. 301 opens, deploying self-driving shuttles and expanding self-service kiosks at the motor vehicle offices.

Cohen adds DelDOT faces some increased costs.

“But we also have 301 coming online for the first time you know for the entire year, so we’re seeing an increase for that as well as focusing on some recruitment and retention issues with personnel," she said. "So those are the two cost drivers on the operating budget side.”

But members of the public at the hearing had some other issues they wanted to discuss.

Newark resident Amy Roe is calling for a barrier on the Roth Bridge to help prevent people from attempting to commit suicide there.

Last month, 23-year-old Amy Eskuchen jumped to her death. Roe said she crossed the bridge moments after Eskuchen jumped and it’s haunted her since. She read a letter from the woman’s cousin.

“Delaware Memorial Bridge is higher than the Roth, but Amy knew that there was no pull over lane and there was a higher railing," she read. "Maybe if it had been harder for her to do, she would have made a different choice.”

Cohan said DelDOT is happy to encourage that conversation, but the decision belongs to the Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the bridge.

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