Delaware Public Media

Federal transportation funding legislation could help Delaware roads adapt to climate change

Aug 26, 2019

Senator Tom Carper visited several flood-prone roads in Delaware Monday to promote a federal transportation infrastructure bill he says addresses climate change. 

 


Route 9 approaching the Army Creek bridge near Dobbinsville regularly floods out, according to Mark Lutz of DelDOT’s transportation solutions division.  “It closes often enough that we have a bunch of signs just sitting here for our maintenance people to deploy,” he said. 

Lutz says the approaches to the bridge are too low— but DelDOT is working on a study to determine the best solution.

Sen. Tom Carper says federal highway legislation he co-sponsored could help.

“The legislation that we reported unanimously out of [the Environment and Public Works] committee would provide a fair amount of money to help with this kind of problem,” he said. “It would make our roads, highways, bridges more resilient faced with sea level rise and adverse weather.”

Carper says the $287 billion surface transportation infrastructure reauthorization bill specifically addresses climate change for the first time. 

He says that’s important for Delaware. “We live in the lowest lying state in the country. Our state is sinking and the seas around us are rising. And we find that there are more and more roadways, Route 9 is a prime example of that," he said. "Where the roads are impassable many times in the year. Not just during a hurricane or a nor’easter, but in the times when you just have bad— when the heavy rains line up with the high tides, people can’t get through.”

 

The bi-partisan legislation would put more than $11 million toward projects lowering carbon emissions in Delaware and more than $15 million toward protecting Delaware roads, highways and bridges from natural disasters and extreme weather events. 

The bill has yet to go for a vote in the U.S. Senate.