Dr. John E. Stapleford, Director Caesar Rodney Institute
Over the past five fiscal years the operating budget of the Delaware Department of Transportation (DELDOT) has grown 18% while inflation rose 7%. So, DELDOT has been living large, yet the winners and losers inside the Department are curious.
The big winner with a 45% budget increase over the five years is the Motor Vehicles administration. Curiously, for those of us who have visited the DMV during the past year, according to their mission statement the DMV embraces “high standards of courteous, efficient and timely service.”
Other winners include the Office of the Secretary (24% increase), Technology and Support (19%), and Public Relations (16%).
Oddly enough, given all DELDOT’s questionable decisions on capital projects as revealed recently by the News Journal, among the big losers in the budget battle are Planning (a 1% increase) and Transportation Solutions (a 34% decrease). One key objective of Planning is to acquire real estate needed for protecting and improving the state's transportation system (e.g., a million dollars an acre for the closed Wright Chrysler dealership). And a key objective of Transportation Solutions is to ensure that DELDOT consistently delivers high-quality projects from concept through construction and ensure projects are completed on time as scheduled (e.g., the Indian River Bridge).
Although more information is needed before conclusions can be drawn, on the face of it one wonders if DELDOT should be spending less money on Public Relations and more money on the functions of Planning and Transportation Solutions.