Letters: September 30, 2005

We shouldn’t have to pay twice for roads

The plan to develop every inch of Sussex County has hit a snag.

When the county council approved all of the sprawl it was responsible for over the past 10 or 15 years, it did so without making sure that adequate roads, among other things, were there to support all of that additional traffic.

Like other states, it did not require the developers to do it. It pretended it wasn’t necessary and played the gamble of catch-up. That meant that the agencies that were responsible for supporting increased development, like DNREC and DelDOT, would scramble later to find funds to provide the missing roads, etc. The cumulative effect got really bad.

It was that kind of infrastructure catch-up game that failed down in New Orleans and caused the tragedy when events caught up with the lack of proper planning.

That same catch-up game is now threatening to curb current additional approvals of developments, and that is making the developers anxious because the Sussex County Council’s willingness to approve their new projects might be stalled.

Because of the additional road demands, poor DelDOT was caught in the middle, is flat broke, and had to cancel or delay a lot of planned road projects.

That proved to be an embarrassment to the county council because their plans to approve developments willy-nilly would be jeopardized because public attention would be on it, so somebody had to come up with a solution, and quick.

Somebody did, and the clever little plan that is evolving is this: the plan is that you, the taxpayer, is going to be required to pay for the roads that are now needed because developers were not required by the council to do so. Now that the council members are caught off-base, they picked you to save the day for them.

You ask, how are they going to do that?

Why, it is simple. In the past there were roads that were built by the state to accommodate traffic loads, like 301, paid for by your taxes and there are some that served the rush to work or to the beaches and other popular places. It would be those roads which people would be forced to pay toll for if they used them.

But that wouldn’t solve the immediate problem of a flat broke DelDOT, which needs an immediate big transfusion of money, so the plot gets deeper. Why not sell the road to a private owner, even if it is a foreign country, which would be more than willing to pay billions of dollars up front for it in anticipation of the tolls they would charge you forever after?

The up-front money would go to the state and thus to DelDOT which would then free up the Sussex County Council development plans at once and the developers would not be inconvenienced.

If tolls were levied by the state instead of by a foreign country, the dribble of tolls would not provide the immediate lump-sum money needed to keep the development momentum going without a hitch.

Also, DelDOT needed money immediately to pay employees and keep the outfit going because the state didn’t have any money to give them for that. So DelDOT was chosen to be the spokesman for the toll-road deal. It all tied up neatly except for one thing.

The one thing that is missing is your approval for this clever little scheme.

They will select the roads that would bring them in the most money, the private owner would start charging you to ride on the roads which your tax dollars paid for, and the plans for future development would then not be threatened. The state, the council, the developers and the Positive Growth Alliance would all be happy. Their game would not be interrupted.

Yours might be, though. You would be hit from all sides. You would be paying tolls for roads you already paid for, that would increase the dense traffic that is driving you crazy, and add more developments that are already destroying your quality of life.

If it goes through, with your approval, you would end up maybe paying tolls to China, which would probably be the highest bidder. That is really America first, all right.

Only one thing could put a crimp in their plan and that is you. If you’re not happy, you’d better let them know it. Frankly, why should you pay tolls to use a road you have already paid for with your taxes? Ask them that question and watch them scramble.

That should make you happy.

Charles N. Valenti
Rehoboth Beach

Thankful for efforts of emergency teams

I am writing to express my gratitude to several organizations whose response to a medical emergency was outstanding. I also want to encourage our community to respect and support our emergency services team.

On Sept. 15, my husband experienced what apparently was a heat stroke that could have been fatal if he had not received effective care very quickly. Fortunately I was close by when he became unconscious, and I immediately called 911. Within a few minutes help had arrived.

The 911 dispatcher, Millville Fire Department EMTs and Sussex County EMS technicians took control of the situation and provided the help my husband needed with great skill and genuine concern. The emergency room team at Beebe Hospital was just as effective, attentive and caring.

My thanks to all of you! I hope we do not need to call on your services again, however I am very glad to know you are there if the need does arise!

Mary James Legatski