DART First State Receives Grant to Expand Electric Bus Fleet

As part of a continuing effort to reduce emissions and be more environmentally friendly, the Delaware Transit Corp (DTC) is pleased to announce it has received a fourth Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant of $3,539,640 to purchase additional electric buses that will grow DART First State’s alternative fuel fleet. The agency has now received more than $9.1 million through these grants to support the purchase of electric buses.

DART is currently running 16 electric buses statewide, with 4 additional buses going into service this fall. The 6 additional buses to be purchased with the latest grant will bring the fleet total to 26 electric buses, or about 10% of the current fixed route diesel buses.

Electric buses last longer, are cleaner, easier to maintain, produce zero emissions and offer the same capacity for riders compared to their diesel relatives. They produce 90 percent fewer particulates (hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions and 60 percent fewer oxides of nitrogen). One bus can travel up to 250 miles on a single charge. With fast charging stations throughout the state, buses can quickly recharge so they continue to run all day.

Delaware’s Congressional Delegation of Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, (all D-Del.) have fought for funding to decrease carbon emissions and support electric vehicles and buses, and the infrastructure to support it.

“Through this grant from Federal Transportation Authority, the Delaware Transit Corp. will be able to purchase several additional electric buses for use throughout the state,” said Sens. Carper, Coons and Rep. Blunt Rochester. “Continued investments in electric vehicles, like the DART First State Electric Buses, will help move Delaware forward toward a more environmentally and energy-efficient state. We’re proud of DART for committing to a greener and cleaner future for Delaware and look forward to securing additional funding at the federal level to increase Delaware’s fleet of electric buses.”

Governor John Carney added, “Just last week, I signed Senate Bill 21, amending the Delaware Energy Act to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles by creating a more accessible charging-station infrastructure in the First State. I am proud that our state agencies are also adopting the use of electric vehicles, especially for public transportation that results in less air pollution from buses that operate continuously throughout the day.”

“The need for alternative modes of transportation grows daily as does the need for cleaner transportation. We are grateful for this grant and the opportunity continue to explore ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to provide the highest quality transportation services to the community,” said Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski.

The first FTA grant of $2,029,300 for the purchase of six electric buses are currently operating in and around Dover. The second grant of $1 million for the purchase of an additional ten electric buses operating in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach. DTC received a third grant of $2.6 million for four electric buses to supplement the busy resort season in late summer of 2021.

The Delaware Transit Corporation, a subsidiary of the Delaware Department of Transportation, operates DART First State. For more information, please visit DartFirstState.com or call 1-800-652-DART. Real-Time Bus Information and DART Pass, the mobile fare payment option, are both available on the free DART Transit App (iOS and Android).

 


Margaret Rose Henry Bridge Project Finalist for National Award

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials announced the Top 12 finalists in the 2021 America’s Transportation Awards competition, and Delaware’s Margaret Rose Henry Bridge project is one of the 12 finalists.

The general public is invited to vote in the selection of the People’s Choice Award for the 2021 America’s Transportation Awards competition at AmericasTransportationAwards.org and clicking the Vote Now icon. Individuals can vote once per day.

The Top 12 finalists – whittled down from 80 nominees from 35 state departments of transportation via four U.S. regional contests – now compete for the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award. Both prizes come with a $10,000 cash award, for a charity or transportation-related scholarship of the winners’ choosing.

Named in honor of the first African American woman elected to the Delaware State Senate, the $82 million bridge, approach roads, and realigned road network alleviate traffic congestion and improves mobility and circulation for the Riverfront community. The bridge did so by introducing an additional access point to primary arteries such as U.S. Route 13 and Interstate 495.

An independent panel of transportation industry experts will select the Grand Prize winner, while the general public will decide the People’s Choice Award winner through online voting. Online votes will be weighted to each state’s population, allowing for greater competition between states with larger and smaller populations. AASHTO will announce the winners during its Annual Meeting in San Diego, October 26-29. Online voting continues until 11:59 p.m. on October 25.


I-95/Route 1 Toll Amnesty Program to Begin October 1

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles will be offering a three-month amnesty program for toll violators to resolve their toll debt for a fraction of the cost. Senate Joint Resolution 5, passed by the Delaware General Assembly, established the toll amnesty program for eligible toll violations on Route 1 and I-95. Anyone with outstanding toll violations incurred on Route 1 or I-95 between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2020 is eligible to participate in the toll amnesty program. From October 1 through December 31, 2021, civil penalties will be waived for outstanding toll violations if tolls due plus an amnesty fee are paid.

Starting October 1, letters will be mailed to the registered owners of approximately 640,000 vehicles with unpaid toll violations and civil penalties to notify them of the waiver period. Those with outstanding violations are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this unique amnesty program, which will only be offered for a limited time. To participate in this program or for more information, visit de.gov/tollamnesty for Frequently Asked Questions, online payment portal access, support resources, and more.

Governor John Carney, who signed the legislation creating the toll amnesty program on Friday, commented, “This 90-day toll amnesty program will help DelDOT collect unpaid tolls and provide relief for motorists who have outstanding violations from traveling I-95 and Route 1. These programs have been successful in resolving these debts in other states, and I encourage anyone with violations to take advantage of this opportunity.”

“The tolls on Route 1 are there to help cover the cost of keeping our roads safe and in good working order. Unfortunately, close to $143 million owed by toll scofflaws is now going uncollected with some drivers facing thousands of dollars in fines and fees for $1 violations,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen, D-Middletown, the prime sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 5. “I want to thank DelDOT Secretary Nicole Majeski, Controller General Ruth Ann Jones, and Governor John Carney for working with me and others to create a three-month amnesty program that will have a positive impact for all parties involved.”

Jana Simpler, Director of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles, said “Through this program, eligible participants have the opportunity to settle their accounts for a fraction of the amount owed. In preparation, please ensure your current vehicle registration address on file with the Division is accurate.”

After December 31, 2021, full resolution of any outstanding toll violations will require payment of all civil penalties.

Route 1 and I-95 register 70.6 million toll transactions annually, and about one million of those result in a violation. Of those violations, about 623,000 motorists have between one and ten violations.


Vote Georgetown Lewes Trail and Junction and Breakwater Pathway into 2021 Rail – Trail Hall of Fame

There are only a few more days before voting ends on August 6, 2021! Vote the Georgetown to Lewes Trail (GLT) & Junction and Breakwater Pathway (JBP) into this year’s Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC) Hall of Fame!

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) are excited to announce the GLT and JBP are one of only three rail-trails to be nominated! Nominated as a pair, if selected, these Delaware treasures would join more than 30 other iconic trails that are nationally recognized in the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.

Show your support and vote today. Just click HERE or visit https://de.gov/HOFVOTE. Vote as often as you like through August 6, 2021. Voting is unlimited! The winner, to be unveiled later this summer, will receive special Hall of Fame signage for their trail, a feature in RTC’s Trailblog, and an article in the fall issue of their magazine.

“If you utilize any one of the trails in the state’s ever-expanding trail network, I encourage you to vote and often,” said Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski. “Not only would it be amazing for two of our most popular trails to receive national recognition, but it also is a reminder of what we are looking to achieve here at DelDOT and in the state. Our goal remains to conveniently connect people to the places they want to go. Whether that is work, school, a doctor’s appointment or to their favorite restaurant or shopping destination, we want to make sure our residents and visitors have options, alternative modes of transportation they can use to reach their destinations.”

“Having Delaware’s incredible trail system recognized by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a great honor for our state,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Many Delawareans and visitors who utilize our trails benefit through healthier lifestyles and enjoying our state’s natural resources, and we are proud these trails have gained national recognition.”

The Georgetown to Lewes Trail is easily one of the most celebrated pathways in Delaware. Since the completion of the first phase, the Georgetown to Lewes Trail has quickly become a favorite for residents and tourists alike. Trail enthusiasts can walk or bike to work, school, appointments, parks, restaurants, retail shops or numerous other destinations including the State’s breathtaking beaches. Approximately one million users a year choose to travel the Georgetown to Lewes Trail vs. utilize a motorized vehicle to reach their destination.

Another beloved trail, the Junction & Breakwater Pathway offers a 14-mile round trip connection between the historic Town of Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. Like with many coastal communities conventional travel during the peak season can be challenging but thanks to this low stress, multi-model pathway pedestrians and bicyclists can ditch their vehicles without sacrificing an ounce of adventure. Less traffic means more time to explore, shop, dine and experience these truly unique destinations.

The GLT is currently half-way finished. This year construction will begin on two additional sections. Once complete the trail will create a 16.7-mile connection between the heart of Sussex County, Georgetown, and the historic Town of Lewes. Users of the JBP continue to praise the recently completed Rehoboth Beach Extension. Both trails are state maintained, and DelDOT and DNREC are always looking for ways to update facilities and improve trail safety. For more information on either trail, visit DelDOT.gov or dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy began recognizing exemplary rail-trails across the country in 2007. Rail-Trail Hall of Fame inductees are selected on merits such as scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance of facility, community connections and geographic distribution. For more details and to vote click HERE or visit https://de.gov/HOFVOTE. Voting is unlimited. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on August 6, 2021.


DelDOT Highlights Ongoing Litter Cleanup Efforts

In the ongoing effort to “Keep DE Litter Free” the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) continues to dedicate resources to cleaning up our roads. To date in 2021, nearly 16,000 bags of trash have been collected, and last year, cleanup efforts resulted in the collection of over 51,000 bags of trash.

Litter cleanup across the state is performed by DelDOT Maintenance & Operations employees, Adopt-A-Highway/Sponsor-A-Highway efforts, the Work A Day Earn A Pay Program and with help from the Delaware Department of the Corrections’ (DOC) inmate work program.

In addition, more than 6,800 tires, 3,500 signs and 250 appliances were removed from alongside Delaware roads.

Governor John Carney, who has championed the “Keep DE Litter Free” initiative commented, “The amount of litter on our roads continues to be eye-opening and a reminder that we all need to do our part to reduce littering. We’re making progress and my hope is that these efforts, increased fines, new signage, and the plastic bag ban will all help curb the amount of litter we are seeing throughout our beautiful state.”

“Even with reduced traffic on our roads for a significant amount of time in the past year, our litter problem has persisted,” said Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski. “We are committed to reducing the amount of litter along our roads and I am grateful to our employees, partners, and volunteers who continue to work hard collecting litter across the state.”

The Keep DE Litter Free effort is one of several designed to keep Delaware outdoor living spaces free of trash and more enjoyable for all. As of Jan. 1, 2021, plastic carryout bags have been replaced by paper and reusable bags at checkout in many stores throughout Delaware. The law is designed to reduce beach and roadside litter, save landfill space, increase recycling efforts.

“Each Delawarean uses about 434 plastic bags and that means nearly 2,400 tons of plastic bags end up in our landfills annually,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “A decrease by the public of plastic carryout bags can mitigate a large portion of this waste and help our environment by reducing the amount plastic bags on our roads and waterways that can harm us and our wildlife.”

Retailers can choose to offer paper bags, or cloth bags, or a thicker type of plastic bag that is designed to be reusable. As before the law, plastic bags – as well as plastic wraps, plastic dry cleaning bags and plastic newspaper sleeves – must still be recycled only at the store. All reusable bags should be washed before the next shopping trip.

Consumers and retailers can find more information about the plastic bag ban at de.gov/bags. To discover how you can join the efforts to help Keep DE Litter Free visit de.gov/litterfree. Businesses and organizations interested in adopting or sponsoring a highway through DelDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway or Sponsor-A-Highway programs can apply now at DelDOT.gov.