Gov. Carney, Lt. Gov. Hall-Long, Sen. Carper, Rep. Blunt Rochester Announce $110M Universal Broadband Investment  

Delaware aims to be first state to reach every home and business with high-speed, wired broadband service 

Broadband infrastructure investment is funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law by President Joe Biden 

BRIDGEVILLE, Del. – Governor John Carney, Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, members of the General Assembly, and the Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI) on Thursday announced a $110 million investment to cover every “last mile” of Delaware with high-speed, wireline broadband internet service.  

The broadband infrastructure investment – funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was signed into law on March 11 by President Joe Biden – aims to make Delaware the first state to provide wireline broadband access to every Delaware home and business.  

“Delawareans rely on stable internet connections to apply for jobs, help their children do homework, work from home, or continue their education online,” said Governor Carney. “This significant investment will recognize that reality, and make sure all Delaware families have access to high-speed broadband service. We know that’s more important than ever after the lessons we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank Delaware’s federal delegation for voting to approve the American Rescue Plan Act, and President Joe Biden for signing this important legislation into law.” 

Currently, about 11,600 Delaware homes and businesses lack access to high-speed, wireline broadband service. The broadband infrastructure project announced on Thursday will target investments to areas currently unserved or underserved, lacking a wireline connection, and will prioritize projects that achieve “last mile” connections to households and businesses. 

Click here to view maps of areas most in need of expanded of broadband networks across Delaware

 

“Access to broadband is infrastructure. Just like when our roads, bridges, and railways are broken we fix them and we need to do the same for our access to broadband and close these gaps,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “This critical investment from our federal government is a once in a generation opportunity for us to make a real difference and deliver meaningful investments. I’m excited about the opportunity to really put our state in a position of strength to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”   

“The coronavirus pandemic has shown just how much Americans rely on the Internet for school, running a business, or simply getting health care. Unfortunately, too many people across the First State do not have access to a reliable Internet connection,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “When our Congressional delegation was working on the American Rescue Plan, we knew we needed to provide robust and flexible funding for states to address their own unique needs. I’m so glad the state is using funds from the American Rescue Plan to address this digital divide, and I applaud Governor Carney’s leadership in combatting this pandemic and moving Delaware forward.” 

“Reliable access to high-speed internet is becoming more and more critical for success in the 21st century,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Today’s news will connect thousands in Delaware to broadband services. With the current challenges of COVID-19, we have particularly felt the strain associated with unreliable internet across our state. Whether it’s connecting kids to schools, seniors to doctors, or rural farmers to state-of-the-art agricultural data, this $110-million investment of federal funds will expand broadband availability, increase internet speeds, and make Delaware one of the most connected states in America.” 

“Access to affordable and reliable broadband has been an issue for students, families and businesses throughout Delaware for years, especially for those in the most rural and urban areas of the state,” said U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. “The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the critical need for high-speed broadband service as Delawareans found themselves learning, working and educating from home now more than ever. With $110 million secured through the American Rescue Plan that I voted to pass in March, Delaware will now be able to invest in major updates to our broadband infrastructure in the areas that need it most.” 

“Many of the local officials have long said that additional investment must be made in broadband connectivity,” said State Senator Brian Pettyjohn. “As the events of the past year have painfully shown, the infrastructure required to support business, remote learning, and other activities vital in the modern world are simply not in place. This investment will make our communities more competitive in a global economy, allow our students to have equal access to information for learning, and provide health, safety, and security enhancements to even the most remote areas in our state.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has driven home just how integral broadband is for modern life,” said State Senator Nicole Poore, chair of the Joint Capital Improvement Committee. “Delawareans logged on for work, school, doctor’s visits and just to spend a few minutes with their loved ones. Others turned to the high-speed internet to keep their businesses going. Here in the 21st century, we can’t afford for whole towns and communities to be without this vital service, and I applaud Governor John Carney for keeping his promise to close the last remaining gaps in broadband service for our rural communities.” 

“Building upon our prior investments in fiber and wireless broadband, it is our goal to be the first state to provide a wired internet connection to every Delaware residence and business,” said CIO Jason Clarke. “Working with our state internet service providers to deliver a reliable and scalable solution will position Delaware to meet current and future broadband demands.” 

Photos from today’s event can be found here.

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Governor Carney Signs Senate Bill 127

Legislation creates Site Readiness Fund to promote job creation, economic growth

MIDDLETOWN, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed Senate Bill 127 alongside members of the General Assembly, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, business owners, and local elected officials. This legislation was laid out in the Governor’s 2021 State of the State Address.

Senate Bill 127 creates a Site Readiness Fund that will promote economic growth and stability by investing in the development or improvement of commercial and industrial sites to attract job-creating businesses. The Fund will provide grants, loans or other economic assistance to qualified businesses or local governments that invest in constructing, renovating or improving infrastructure for sites that will attract new businesses or expand existing businesses within the State.

“We are competing for jobs every day, and we are working hard to ensure Delaware’s future and ongoing economic success,” said Governor Carney. “This legislation will allow us to quickly convert existing properties to meet the needs of prospective employers, spurring growth and new business investment. It’s just another way we are makingDelaware a top choice for businesses to start here and stay here. Thank you to all the members of the General Assembly, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, and the Division of Small Business for their work on this legislation.”

“A good-paying job can change lives,” said Senator Jack Walsh. “But in today’s highly competitive environment, you can’t just sit back and hope your state will attract major employers. You got to work at it every day. Thankfully, Governor Carney, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and the Division of Small Business are doing exactly that, and this legislation gives them another tool in their tool belt to help attract the kinds of companies and construction projects that will put our neighbors to work for years to come.”

“To ensure Delaware’s future and ongoing economic success, we need sites that can accommodate businesses and expedite the start-up time for new companies,” said Representative Bill Bush. “By taking this proactive approach in developing a ready supply of sites, we’re keeping Delaware competitive with surrounding states by attracting and retaining businesses with high-quality jobs.”

“Businesses who are considering locating in Delaware often need to make significant infrastructure investments, whether by constructing a new site or renovating an existing one. The Site Readiness Fund provides us the opportunity to offer those businesses an added incentive that can give us an advantage over other states,” said Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock. “In today’s economic climate where competition among states and globally is heavy, this fund is a critical piece in expanding and sustaining economic growth in Delaware.”

“At a time when there is significant competition from other states, the Site Readiness Fund is an important tool in our economic development toolbox that we can use to stay competitive and incentivize businesses to locate in Delaware,” said Jordan Schulties, Director of the Division of Small Business. “The fund will go a long way in helping our state attract and retain businesses that will create quality jobs for Delawareans.” 

“This measure furthers the efforts of Delaware Prosperity Partnership and its many statewide partners because the improvements it will fund will help businesses choose Delaware for their location or expansion,” said Kurt Forman, President and CEO of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership. “DPP is grateful to the General Assembly for its support of this legislation and for its investment in ensuring that sites throughout the state are ready for the kinds of investment and job growth we all value.”

Photos from today’s bill signing can be found here.

Rewatch the bill signing ceremony here.

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Ribbon cut on Little Heaven intersection project

Project eliminated traffic signal on Route 1

Bowers Beach — With help from Governor John Carney, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, members of the State General Assembly, members of the project team, and others, Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) Secretary Jennifer Cohan cut the ribbon on the SR 1 Little Heaven Grade Separated Intersection project today.

“The completion of the Little Heaven grade-separated intersection marks another step toward making Route 1 safer and easier for the local community and travelers,” said Secretary Cohan. “We have now eliminated all of the traffic signals along Route 1 in Kent County, easing the flow of local traffic to, from, and across the highway. And, for people traveling along Route 1, frustrating and time-consuming backups at lights along Route 1 in Kent County are now a thing of the past. We look forward to continuing similar improvements statewide.”

“The investments that our state continues to make in its transportation infrastructure are paying off for Delawareans and our visitors alike,” said Governor John Carney. “Projects like the Little Heaven grade-separated intersection not only ease the flow of traffic, but they also make our communities more livable and attractive to business. The money that we spend on our roads is a direct investment in our quality of life.”

“With the completion of this project, we’re ensuring both the local community and visitors to Delaware will enjoy safer travel, while reducing traffic congestion,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “I’m thrilled to see the positive impact of this project, as well as all of the recent projects DelDOT has successfully completed, to make Delaware stronger and healthier.”

“I’m thankful for everyone’s efforts in completing the project and thanks to local residents for their patience,” said State Senator Colin Bonini.

The new overpass replaced the intersection and traffic signal at Route 1 and Bowers Beach Road to improve safety and traffic flow on the Route 1 corridor. In its previous configuration, the intersection caused lengthy backups on Route 1 during summertime beach traffic while exposing turning traffic to the risk of side-impact crashes. Route 1 now crosses over Bowers Beach Road, allowing traffic to continue north and south without stopping, while pedestrian and local traffic is maintained on the new ramps and service roads. Additionally, six other intersections were eliminated as part of the project.

The Little Heaven project constructed service roads to the east and west of Route 1 as well as a Route 1 bridge over Bowers Beach Road. Ramps now allow traffic to exit and enter Route 1 northbound and southbound.

A-Del Construction, Inc., of Newark, led the construction of the $44 million project, which began in November 2015. The work area consisted of more than 650 acres along nearly three miles of SR 1.

For more information about the SR 1 Little Heaven Project and other SR 1 projects, please visit http://www.deldot.gov/information/projects/sr1/


Governor Carney Signs Legislation Establishing Infrastructure Fund to Create Jobs

Delaware is investing $3.9 billion to modernize transportation infrastructure through 2025

WILMINGTON, Del. – In front of the Christina River Bridge, Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 61, legislation that establishes the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund (TIIF) to allow businesses to make roadway infrastructure improvements that will support job-creating projects in Delaware.

TIIF aims to attract new businesses to Delaware, expand existing Delaware businesses, and create jobs. Governor Carney called for the creation of a new Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund in his 2019 State of the State Address. Senator Stephanie Hansen and Representative Ed Osienski sponsored the legislation in the Delaware Senate and House.

“This legislation is really about creating good-paying jobs for Delaware workers and their families,” said Governor Carney. “As I said in my State of the State Address in January, TIIF will allow us to react quickly to important economic development projects that require upgrades to roads or other infrastructure. This new fund is just part of our efforts to modernize Delaware’s transportation system – and to fix roads, bridges, and potholes across our state. Investments in our transportation infrastructure make it easier and safer to travel across Delaware, and help us attract development from new and existing businesses. I want to thank members of the General Assembly for their partnership on this important issue.”

“Under Governor Carney’s leadership, DelDOT has been committed to streamlining our review process for businesses that want to locate and expand in Delaware,” said Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan.  “TIIF is another tool in our toolbox that will assist us in attracting businesses and grow our economy.”

Through 2025, the State of Delaware will invest $3.9 billion to modernize Delaware’s roads and bridges, improve safety, alleviate congestion on Delaware roadways in all three counties, and attract new business development and good-paying jobs.

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes $10 million for the new infrastructure fund. The fund will be managed by the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund Council, a nine-member council established by the legislation. The council will consider applications and make funding recommendations to Delaware’s Transportation Secretary and the Secretary of State.

“Senate Bill 61 meets the needs of businesses looking to bring jobs to Delaware in a way that balances the interests of all parties,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen, D-Middletown, prime sponsor and chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “It is part of a smart growth strategy that we have been envisioning since I was on County Council and I am excited that we are taking this step forward today. In the past, small hurdles in upgrading existing infrastructure near already developed areas forced new businesses to leapfrog out into green and undeveloped spaces – a practice that didn’t suit anybody particularly well and which caused a lot of friction in our long-term planning process. With this new tool, we can catalyze infrastructure improvements and smart development in the places where businesses want to be, attracting new jobs and building a better state for everyone along the way.”

“When developers and businesses choose Delaware to grow or locate, their primary capital infrastructure concerns are their facilities even though there may be road impacts in the area. The fund created by SB 61 will bolster economic development by helping to address those roadway impacts faster, at the same time businesses address their infrastructure needs,” said Representative Ed Osienski, Chair of the House Transportation/Land Use and Infrastructure Committee. “I am proud to be a sponsor of this legislation, which will enhance infrastructure, support economic development and make a difference in the First State.”

“On behalf of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Delaware and its nearly 1,000 practicing engineers in Delaware we are thrilled to support infrastructure investment in our state,” said ACEC President, Dave DuPlessis. “Infrastructure connects households to higher quality opportunities for employment, healthcare and education. It is critical to the success of our state. We look forward to designing the next wave of projects that will benefit from the TIIF.”

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Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council to meet Wednesday, Feb. 20 in Dover

DOVER – The Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council (WIAC) will meet Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 9 a.m. in Conference Room 220, Kent County Administrative Complex, 555 S. Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901. More information about the WIAC meeting, including the agenda, can be found on the Statewide Meeting Calendar at https://publicmeetings.delaware.gov/Meeting/61416. For more information about Delaware’s Water Infrastructure Advisory Council, please visit the DNREC website.

Vol. 49, No. 23

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