DelDOT Secretary Bhatt Selected to lead Colorado Transportation Department

Will conclude productive tenure at agency at the end of the month   

Wilmington – Secretary Shailen Bhatt will conclude a three and a half year tenure leading Delaware’s Department of Transportation (DelDOT) at the end of this month to accept a nomination by Governor John Hickenlooper to serve as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

“Shailen has done an excellent job enhancing the State’s transportation network while earning the respect of his colleagues and the trust of our citizens,” said Governor Jack Markell. “The agency faced numerous challenges over the past several years, including the need to address a significant debt load and respond to severe weather events, but under his leadership DelDOT tackled those challenges with dedication and professionalism. While this is a big loss for the State of Delaware, I am happy he’ll have the opportunity to work with one of the best governors in the country and am confident Shailen’s experience and leadership skills will have a positive impact in Colorado.”

Secretary Bhatt was appointed by Markell in 2010. Prior to his term as Delaware’s Secretary of Transportation, he served in several leadership roles throughout the country, including Associate Administrator at the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, D.C., Deputy Executive Director with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and Director of the Bowling Green/Warren County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“Throughout my career I‘ve tried to go where I felt I could do the most good, looking for opportunities to make meaningful contributions as a public servant,” said Bhatt. “I appreciate the opportunity Governor Markell gave me and I will always treasure the time I’ve spent in Delaware. It’s been an honor to lead Team DelDOT. I’m very proud of the people I served with and appreciate their unwavering support and enthusiastic commitment towards improving Delaware’s transportation system.”

Key accomplishments advancing Governor Markell’s transportation agenda include:

  • Infrastructure and Quality of Life Investments: The Department has completed or initiated a number of major transportation projects:
    • Indian River Inlet Bridge
    • Highway speed electronic toll lanes on I-95
    • Elkton Road improvements (Newark)
    • South Market Street improvements (Wilmington)
    • Route 54 improvements (Sussex County)
    • Delaware City DMV facility
    • Opening of the I-95 / SR 1 interchange
    • Completing the I-95 / Route 202 interchange
  • First State Trails and Pathways Initiative: DelDOT teamed with DNREC to deliver on Governor Markell’s commitment to build a first class trails network in the First State. Since 2010, more than $14 million has been invested in the creation of new or improved biking and pedestrian facilities. These trails and pathways better connect Delaware’s communities and improve health and recreational opportunities for citizens and visitors alike. Delaware now ranks as the 4th Bicyclist Friendly State in 2014, according to the League of American Bicyclists.
  • Strengthened Financial Stewardship: The department reigned in its operating budget while reducing debt. The department’s operating budget excluding storm related funds decreased each year since FY12, and debt obligations were reduced by 30% ($369 million) from a peak of $1.2 billion in FY11 to under $865 million in FY15.The department maintained an investment grade credit rating of Aa2/AA+ from Moody’s and Standard & Poor, respectively.
  • Transit Redesign: The operations of DART First State have been revamped to control costs and improve transit services to create more convenient transportation options for all Delawareans. Changes included expanding fixed route services in New Castle County and Kent County by offering extended hours and expanded weekend service, increasing fares, distinguishing services areas inside and outside the ADA area, and utilizing the existing 5310 program to work with non-profit partners to provide alternative services for their clients. In addition, DTC launched a Flex Service program providing connections between Georgetown, Millsboro and Lewes as an alternative for people to travel to a destination one mile off of fixed route, as opposed to using paratransit.
  • Improved Customer Service: DelDOT has focused on providing excellent customer service, whether to the driving public, passengers on buses, developers, car dealers or customers at the division of motor vehicles. The agency is actively tracking customer feedback to identify areas that need improvement. The following are some of the initiatives that have been implemented in the Division of Motor Vehicles which served over 630,000 customers in the past year with an average wait time of 13 minutes.
    • Expand Customer Service and Outreach to Certain Driving Populations: DMV continues to expand its customer service outreach to Hispanic, senior and teen populations through increased participation in community events and public relation efforts.
    • Automate Customer Satisfaction Survey for DMV: DMV added a customer service satisfaction survey question to the end of customer transactions via the credit card device at each station to increase our number of responses. The results show overall services at 99% excellent or good.
    • Expand Services at DMV Kiosks: Self-service kiosks now allow customers to complete driver license renewals, duplicates and address changes, as well as registration renewal.
    • Print on Demand Temporary Tag Program:  To increase the level of service to the state’s auto dealers, the division expanded the use of the print-on-demand temporary tag program to the majority of Delaware new car dealers. The program allows for auto dealers to print temporary tags on demand at their facilities instead of pre-purchasing tags (inventory) from the DMV and handwriting the vehicle information on the tags.



  • Improved Development Coordination:  Recognizing the vital role DelDOT plays in the success of economic development in the state, the agency set a performance goal that staff must provide comments on development plans within 45 days of receipt. To date, DelDOT is meeting this goal the overwhelming majority of the time. This provides the development community with predictability in the permitting process. Through the review of agency regulations under Executive Order #36, DelDOT modified its multi-use path policy and created a “Letter of No Contention” approval to process plans that have fewer than 199 average daily trips. This process is especially helpful to small businesses trying to develop or expand.
  • Transportation Improvement Districts: Through the creation and implementation of Transportation Improvement Districts (TIDs), communities now have an opportunity to work with the local land use department and DelDOT to determine the appropriate size of transportation improvements in identified growth zones. Predetermined traffic counts and streamlined technical assistance will help developers accelerate the permitting process, saving time and money in the construction of new homes and businesses.
  • Reform of the Capital Transportation Program Process: The department undertook the process of creating a data driven project prioritization processes that uses performance metrics to guide decision-making. Using a software tool called Decision Lens; the department has created a project evaluation and ranking system that ensures projects are consistent with the mission, vision and goals of the department; especially with regard to their ability to create a safer transportation system in Delaware.
  • Implementation of the 2011 Transportation Trust Fund Task Force Report Recommendations: The 2011 Transportation Trust Fund Task Force (Task Force) studied the entire transportation program for the period Fiscal Year 2012-2023 and concluded that total spending for transportation expenses over the period could reasonably be estimated to total $12.4 billion and that current revenue streams will support only 70% of those needs. The result of that imbalance, if not corrected, would be either the elimination of all new capital projects by 2017 or severe reductions in the Department’s Core Program resulting in an accelerated deterioration of Delaware’s transportation infrastructure. The Task Force put forth a list of recommendations to address the financial challenges facing the department. DelDOT acted on a number of these recommendations, including reducing borrowing, keeping operating costs level, creating a more sustainable business model for transit, and making more intelligent use of available dollars through the adoption of a data-driven capital spending process. Creating a sustainable stream of revenue for the trust fund remains the overarching unrealized recommendation in the task force report, however. As the report stated, “the essential goal in correcting the structural problem of funding the TTF is to create a sustainable stream of revenue which supports an appropriately sized capital program to meet the State’s infrastructure needs.”

In his new role, Secretary Bhatt will lead the Department in planning for and addressing Colorado’s transportation needs. He will oversee 3,300 employees statewide and an annual budget of approximately $1 billion to help CDOT continue its mission of providing the best multi-modal transportation system for Colorado that safely and most effectively moves people, goods and information.



Governors Jack Markell and Martin O’Malley Issue Joint Letters of Concern on Potential Acquisition of AstraZeneca

Letters underscore concerns about job retention, and impact on R&D in both states

Dover, DE –Governors Martin O’Malley (MD) and Jack Markell (DE) sent a letter today to Ian Read, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer, Inc., expressing deep concerns about the potential acquisition of AstraZeneca PLC. The letter highlights the potentially significant impact on good, family-sustaining jobs in both Maryland and Delaware, and expresses concern about the company’s open interest in gaining access to offshore funds and “tax-efficient” operations.

AstraZeneca employs approximately 3,100 people in Maryland, and approximately 2,600 people in Delaware, prompting the two governors to seek answers about the company’s potential future in the two states.

The two governors also sent letters expressing concern to several federal executive branch officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, and SEC Chair Mary Jo White, as well as to a number of members of Congress — including Speaker of the House John Boehner, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, several congressional committees, Chairs Representative Kevin Brady and Senator Amy Klobuchar of the U.S. Joint Economic Committee, and members of both the Maryland and Delaware Congressional delegations.

The governors also highlighted Pfizer’s assurances to British Prime Minister David Cameron on job retention, potential relocation, as well as employment guarantees for workers in the United Kingdom, and noted that Pfizer has yet to provide any commitment to Maryland or Delaware.

The letter requests responses from Pfizer regarding the potential impact on thousands of residents in both states as well as a number of other issues, including: the potential number of jobs to be eliminated upon acquisition; commitments Pfizer is prepared to make to current AstraZeneca employees; future interest in investments in R&D and maintenance of innovation efforts; and answers to questions about potential redistribution of assets.

In order to preserve and protect American jobs and the future of families affected in the two states, both governors indicated that they intend to continue to pursue their concerns with the White House, members of the Obama Administration, and the U.S. Congress.

The full text of the letter to Pfizer is below.

Letter to Pfizer Chairman and CEO

Dear Mr. Read:

The states of Delaware and Maryland are leaders in research and development in the pharmaceutical, life sciences, and biotech industries. As such, we are very concerned by Pfizer, Inc.’s efforts to acquire AstraZeneca PLC. As you know, AstraZeneca employs approximately 3,100 people in Maryland and 2,600 people in Delaware in good jobs in manufacturing, research and development, and many other related positions that contribute to innovation and economic growth in our states.

Widespread media reports indicate that Pfizer has made assurances to British Prime Minister David Cameron about retaining jobs in the United Kingdom should this transaction occur. Pfizer has committed to: (i) moving the combined company’s corporate and tax residence to England; (ii) basing key scientific leadership in the United Kingdom; (iii) keeping 20% of the combined company’s R&D workforce in the United Kingdom; and (iv) actively looking to locate manufacturing opportunities in the United Kingdom.

We are concerned because, despite our requests, we have received no corresponding assurances about retaining jobs and research and development in our states. Our concern is exacerbated by Pfizer’s history of closing U.S. research facilities, including sites in Michigan and Illinois, after closing on previous corporate transactions.

It is also concerning that Pfizer is seeking to complete an acquisition involving jobs supporting thousands of families in our states in order to achieve tax advantages. In describing the reason for a proposed takeover, Pfizer’s Chief Financial Officer was quoted as saying, “that would still allow me to access the offshore funds and do it in a tax-efficient way.” While we understand your desire to operate efficiently, relocating your corporate and tax residence outside of the United States is not only detrimental to the United States, but potentially comes at a direct cost to our states and our constituents.

Our states have invested substantially to make AstraZeneca a success in our communities. Elected officials and the public have a right to know Pfizer’s intentions with respect to the key U.S. operations of AstraZeneca and the thousands of employees in our states whose jobs may be jeopardized by Pfizer’s desire to reduce its tax liabilities.

We are, therefore, seeking additional information to help us understand how the proposed acquisition of AstraZeneca will affect our states and the leading role they play in research and development and the pharmaceutical industry generally. Thus, we would appreciate if you could provide responses to the following questions.

1. How many jobs in Maryland and Delaware do you estimate will potentially be eliminated or relocated outside of our states or the United States if Pfizer acquires AstraZeneca?

2. As you have done in the United Kingdom, what binding commitments can Pfizer make to continued investment in Maryland and Delaware? What would be the level of such investment?

3. What commitments can you make regarding AstraZeneca’s North American headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware; its research and development center in Gaithersburg, Maryland; its manufacturing facility in Newark, Delaware; or any other facilities?

4. Media reports have noted Pfizer’s intent to merge the assets and potentially then split off separate businesses or business units. What are Pfizer’s intentions in this respect, and what are the details, timeline, and likely impacts on our states?

5. What binding commitments can Pfizer provide regarding maintaining its investment in the research and discovery of biopharmaceutical products based on its proposed acquisition of AstraZeneca? What binding commitments can you make to maintain the pace of innovation?

6. What other commitments can Pfizer make regarding the effect of the transaction on jobs in the United States in general, and in Maryland and Delaware specifically?

Your cooperation in providing this information is very much appreciated. Time is of the essence, as are American jobs and the livelihood of American families. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter, as we are actively engaging our federal partners in the White House and its individual Cabinet agencies and in the U.S. Congress to join us in protecting these jobs and the families they support.




Martin O’Malley


State of Maryland


Jack Markell


State of Delaware




Governor’s Weekly Message: Growing Global Relationships to Support Local Agriculture

Harrington –  In his weekly message, filmed at the Delaware State Fair, Governor Markell highlights the importance of fostering global relationships in order to strengthen the agriculture industry in Delaware.

“In our global economy, it’s critical all Delawareans have opportunities to build connections with the international community,” said Governor Markell. “ By ensuring Delaware’s farmers are in a position to compete and lead on the world stage, we’ll make their industry even stronger, and we’ll keep Delaware moving forward. ”

Every Friday, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:

By email: Please contact our press team to subscribe to our press list

Text of the Governor’s Weekly Message:  Growing Global Relationships to Support Local Agriculture