Governor Carney Announces New Projects, Protecting Transportation Network Part of Infrastructure Funds Focus

SOUTH BOWERS, Del. – Delaware will advance major planned projects, make road systems more resilient to climate change and apply for funding to serve traditionally disadvantaged areas using significant new federal funds for transportation over the next several years.

The federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) — championed by U.S. Senator Tom Carper, U.S. Senator Chris Coons, and U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester and signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021 — is a once-in-a-generation commitment to improving roads, bridges, transit, water and wastewater systems, broadband, energy and other infrastructure areas. 

Transportation is the largest area of new investment in the BIL. In a visit to South Bowers Beach Wednesday, Governor Carney and Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Nicole Majeski highlighted some of the first decisions on construction and improvements to Delaware’s road network using the funding, which will stretch for the next five years.

Click here to view photos.

A portion of South Bowers Road will be raised up to 5 inches to protect it from both tidal and storm. The previously planned project is an example of the types of projects DelDOT will be able to do with $48.5 million over five years from the BIL for at-risk coastal infrastructure. DelDOT’s new Division of Resiliency and Sustainability will develop a prioritization process for other projects over the next several years.

“Delawareans will travel easier on major routes and have increased confidence in the roads they need to use every day and in emergencies with the projects DelDOT can now accomplish with this funding,” said Governor Carney. “In addition, we will apply for extra federal funding for improvements in New Castle and Laurel that would make a significant difference in the lives of residents in those areas.”

Among the projects the Department will be advancing with other BIL funds:

  • The planned widening of Route 1 between the Christiana Mall and Route 40
  • Improvements to Kenton Road in west Dover between Route 8 and Chestnut Grove Road
  • Long-planned construction of an overpass taking Route 9 traffic over U.S. 113 in Georgetown
  • The next phase of the Georgetown to Lewes Trail from Fisher Road to Airport Road

The Infrastructure Law is providing an additional $160 million over five years to Delaware main highway spending programs.

In addition, Delaware will submit applications in April for two concepts under the federal Local and Regional Project Assistance Grants (RAISE). This is a nationwide competitive program and the U.S. Department of Transportation will announce successful grant recipients by August 12, 2022. Both target traditionally underserved areas, which is a focus of the BIL.

  • Applying for $6.5 million in a federal grant to begin designing an ambitious plan in the Route 9 area near New Castle, reducing the through lanes on Route 9 with saved lane space used to improve pedestrian and bicycle and bus facilities and provide extra green space. The project would also include rebuilt intersections including roundabouts, a center-lane multi-use pathway over the I-295 Expressway and a pedestrian/bicycle path system to knit together the now largely disconnected neighborhoods along the corridor. If design funds are granted, DelDOT would apply to RAISE for construction funding in future years, with total cost estimated at $30 million.
  • Applying for $5.8 million to add bicycle lanes and a sidewalk safely along Discountland Road in Laurel, connecting two affordable housing communities (Holly Brook Farms and Carvel Gardens) to a shopping center that contains a grocery store, bank, pharmacies, physical therapy and other amenities.

“We continue to work to address the infrastructure needs we have across the state, and this landmark bill will bring more funding to Delaware that will have a positive impact on every mode of transportation,” said Secretary of DelDOT Nicole Majeski. 

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure law represents the single largest investment in our nation’s roads and bridges since the construction of the Interstate Highway System nearly 70 years ago — a historic win for Delawareans and all Americans,” said Senator Carper, who as Chair of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, drafted and negotiated the legislation. “When drafting this legislation, we prioritized investments in safety, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists, sustainability, and resilience, all while addressing the backlog of repairs in our nation’s transportation system. It’s great to see this historic funding making its way into communities across Delaware, rebuilding the roads that connect us in a way makes them more resilient in the face of climate change and that allows Delaware to grow our economy at the same time.”

“Passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was a commitment to revitalize our roads and bridges and put transportation projects in Delaware at the forefront of our agenda,” said Senator Coons. “These upcoming projects will put millions of dollars in critical federal funds towards increasing the resiliency of coastal communities, prioritizing climate action, and reaffirming our commitment to upgrading Delaware’s infrastructure.”

“Delawareans rely on our state’s surface transportation infrastructure to live, work, and travel every day,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “With funds secured through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – the largest long-term investment in our nation’s infrastructure in nearly a century that I voted to pass last year – the First State can continue to invest in critical projects to repair and revitalize its roads, highways, and bridges that will improve quality of life and create good-paying jobs at the same time.”

In addition to road and resiliency projects, federal infrastructure funding coming to Delaware in the next several years includes programs for bridges, public transit, electric vehicle charging, carbon reduction, safety improvements and more. 

For more information on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, visit: de.gov/infrastructure

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Delaware Announces Start of Universal Broadband Construction

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney and State Chief Information Officer Jason Clarke of the Department of Technology and Information (DTI) on Thursday announced $56 million in Broadband Infrastructure Grants to begin making high-speed wired broadband connections available to every Delaware home. The award recipients, Comcast, Verizon and Mediacom, are current State of Delaware service providers with existing broadband infrastructure that responded to a grant application released in October 2021. The three companies will extend their existing coverage areas to serve more than 11,600 Delaware homes and businesses which do not have access to high-speed, wired broadband service. Construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks.

Broadband Infrastructure Grant Awards:

  • Comcast – $33.1 million
  • Verizon – $11.8 million
  • Mediacom – $11.1 million

“Stable, high-speed internet connection is important for all Delaware families, students, and businesses,” said Governor Carney. “Now, with the availability of federal funds, we are on our way to giving Delawareans across the state access to connect to school, work, health care, and more. Thank you to the Department of Technology and Information working toward our goal of being the first state to connect every residence and business to broadband internet.”

Over the next 36 months, Comcast, Verizon and Mediacom will build out and extend current infrastructure to deliver fixed, wireline internet access with transmission speeds that, at a minimum, provide 100 megabits per second (100 Mbps) download and 20 megabits per second (20 Mbps) upload.

Delawareans can find out if their area has internet access and report addresses that do not using Delaware’s Broadband Hub (https://gis.broadband.delaware.gov/). DTI plans to update the interactive map with expansion project updates and real-time data. Addresses reported as lacking service during the construction phase will be included within the current project.

“Expanding access to reliable broadband service has long been a priority for Delaware,” said Chief Information Officer of the Delaware Department of Technology and Information Jason Clarke. “Thanks to our ability to leverage funding made available from Congress and the President and with the support of Governor Carney, we are excited to execute on the strategy of our stakeholders and our well-positioned vendor community to close the digital divide in Delaware.” 

The Broadband Infrastructure Grants are part of the $110 million commitment to broadband infrastructure Governor Carney announced in August 2021. Funding for this initiative comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, both of which were supported by the Delaware congressional delegation –  Senator Tom Carper, Senator Chris Coons, and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester – and signed into law by President Biden. 

The grants cover up to 75 percent of the capital construction costs, with the internet service providers contributing a minimum 25 percent match. Selections were made based on an efficient edge-out strategy extending the services of current vendors to close broadband gaps as outlined in the Delaware Broadband Strategic Plan. This plan was developed by a diverse group of stakeholders with representation from the public and private sector across the state. Applicants had to be current State of Delaware service providers with existing broadband infrastructure to be eligible for the grant.

“We are thrilled to be given this opportunity to expand Mediacom’s fiber network and increase high-speed broadband access within Delaware,” said Chris Lord, Mediacom’s Director of Government Partnerships. “The staff at the Delaware Department of Technology and Information created an amazingly efficient application process that effectively utilizes public resources to encourage private investment while leveraging existing fiber infrastructure.”  

“Verizon is excited to participate in Delaware’s Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, ” said Tony Lewis, Vice President of Public Policy for Verizon. “This Grant will help Verizon deploy our best in class all-fiber network technology to deliver our flagship Fios Home Internet service — with speeds up to 940 Mbps and no data caps —  to roughly 3,000 additional unserved locations. We appreciate the leadership of Governor Carney and the other State officials in quickly and aggressively implementing the federal funding that President Biden and Congress have made available to help close the digital divide. We look forward to a continued partnership with the State for this and future programs that will flow from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

“We’re proud to partner with the state of Delaware and continue our investment to bring our fiber-rich network and advanced services to residents up and down the state,” said Michael Parker, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Beltway Region. “This partnership will bolster the hundreds of millions of dollars Comcast has already invested in the state to connect thousands of currently unserved homes to our gigabit speed fiber network. Technology is a powerful driver of innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth, and we’re committed to helping individuals and communities fully participate in the digital economy.”

For more information on investments with American Rescue Plan Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds, visit de.gov/rescueplan and de.gov/infrastructure.

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Governor Carney Announces Department of Human Resources (DHR) Nomination

Additional personnel changes announced to focus on management of federal ARPA and infrastructure funding

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday announced that he will nominate Claire DeMatteis to serve as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Human Resources (DHR), where she would provide support for Delaware’s state workforce and manage recruitment and retention programs across the executive branch of state government.

DeMatteis currently serves as Special Assistant to the Governor, overseeing the management of federal stimulus dollars. Governor Carney’s nomination must be confirmed by the Delaware Senate.

“Claire has stepped up time and time again over the last five years,” said Governor Carney. “She helped manage major reforms at the Department of Correction, and later led the agency with distinction from 2019-2021. In her current role, she has helped make sure we are efficiently managing an influx of federal stimulus dollars to the State. Claire has a proven ability to take on difficult challenges and I look forward to the Senate confirming her nomination.”

In her current position as Special Assistant to Governor Carney, DeMatteis oversees management of federal stimulus funding received by the State of Delaware, and assists with crisis management projects across state government.

If confirmed by the Senate as DHR Secretary, DeMatteis would focus on modernizing the state workforce post-pandemic, including efforts to:

  • Recruit a new generation of workers into state government that reflects that state’s population;
  • Address compensation inequities across state government agencies;
  • And increase efforts to provide professional development and training for all state employees, including diversity and inclusion training, leadership development, and mentorship programs. 

Also on Thursday, Governor Carney announced senior personnel changes to manage additional federal funding. 

A.J. Schall, Director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), who continues to lead the State’s logistical response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will manage recovery efforts and implementation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investments, while remaining in his current DEMA role.

Greg Patterson, currently the Chief of Staff at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), will move to the Office of the Governor as Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator to manage funding received by the State of Delaware through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The bipartisan law was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on November 15. 

White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu urged governors this week to name implementation coordinators to oversee the new infrastructure spending. Delaware is expected to receive more than $2 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including significant new funding for road and bridge repairs, broadband expansion, clean water projects, and electric vehicle infrastructure. 

Patterson, who previously served in roles for Governor Ruth Ann Minner and Governor Jack Markell, as well as at the state Department of Justice and Department of Insurance, will also assist in reviewing and streamlining State regulations related to economic development, consistent with the ongoing Ready in 6 initiative to advance job creation efforts.

“I’ve known A.J. and Greg for years, and both are consummate public servants who I’m confident are ready for this challenge,” said Governor Carney. “For almost two years, A.J. has led the State’s logistical response to the COVID-19 pandemic, managing the statewide testing program and rollout of the vaccine. In the months ahead, A.J. and Greg will continue to manage recovery efforts and make sure we are getting stimulus dollars out the door and putting them to work for Delaware families. I want to thank both for their continued public service.”

DeMatteis previously served as Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) from 2019-2021, as Special Assistant to Governor Carney overseeing reforms to Delaware’s corrections system, and in a senior role at the Delaware Department of Labor (DOL). 

From 2008-2016, DeMatteis worked as General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer of two multi-billion dollar corporations. DeMatteis spent four years at Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, a Mid-Atlantic law firm with offices in Wilmington. She was partner in charge of the firm’s Delaware office from 2007-2008.

During her decade working as senior counsel for then-Senator Joe Biden, from 1994-2004, DeMatteis served as a member of a senior team on issues involving law enforcement, women’s rights, civil rights, and constitutional matters. She helped guide campaign strategy, managed constituent communications, and drafted legislation.

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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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