More bus services would help

It’s very easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback. You know, just sit back, watch the decisions someone else makes, and then offer your opinion after the fact. We’re kind of doing that here today.

When Gov. Jack Markell and Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) Secretary Carolann Wicks recently released their final list of road, bridge, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects to be funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), we were all anxious to see how much money was coming this community’s way. To be honest, we thought Sussex County did fairly well this time around, at least compared to how we typically do with state funding.

Particularly interesting to us was the $1.9 million earmarked for improving and repairing buses in Sussex County. The DART buses are vital in this community as far as transporting people to and from important medical appointments, and obviously the money going to making those buses more reliable and safe is important.

However, this is where we become Monday morning quarterbacks — too late with our ideas to better spend the state’s federal stimulus money, but awfully clever in our own minds.

With this rare opportunity to secure massive federal monies to spur the economy, perhaps those dollars could have been spent on establishing a real public transportation system here at the beach. Buses transporting people from Route 113 to the beaches, and up and down Route 1, could alleviate traffic congestion, improve our mark on the environment and create real jobs for people who would do anything to work. It would also increase foot traffic in our beach towns — increasing the customers to restaurants and shops, while not stressing the parking situations.

It’s an ambitious plan, to be certain, and we should have kicked this around while decisions were being made, instead of after the fact.

But look around. Ocean City, Md. has had great success with their bus system, and have employed hundreds of people in the process. A similar system, but one that goes east and west, as well as north and south, could have a profound effect here.