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Editorial: Crumbling infrastructure a local problem too

February 12, 2019

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons recently remembered a trip he made to Hanoi in Vietnam a few years ago with Sen. John McCain.  “I was completely impressed by the airport in Hanoi,” said Coons. “It had just been built by the Chinese and it was far and away better than the airports we have in this country. Our highways, rails and airports all need major attention.  We’re living off of initiatives made by generations long ago.”

Of course deteriorating infrastructure isn’t just a national problem.  In Lewes, the Front Street area of the downtown district is torn up for a second year as contractors continue a long overdue water and wastewater infrastructure project to replace pipes almost a century old.

In Rehoboth Beach, Public Works Director Kevin Williams said a $455,000 project to fix stormwater issues on Wilmington and Delaware avenues is absolutely critical.

In an article about Rehoboth budget discussions, Williams said either nothing could happen or the Boardwalk could collapse because the stormwater pipes beneath it are rusting away. Not fixing the system would equate to a dangerous game of Russian roulette.

Although the city is searching for any kind of revenue streams it can scare up to fund more than $4.5 million in needed capital projects, we agree with Williams that the stormwater infrastructure improvements need to be at the top of the list.

Getting that stormwater system right is more than just about moving rainwater off the city’s streets; it’s also about ensuring the water making its way to the ocean is of a high enough quality so the state won’t close the beaches following significant rainfalls due to pollution concerns.

To that extent the stormwater issue is also a problem for the state to become involved with financially and Rehoboth shouldn’t hesitate to ask.  

The city is by far the state’s largest summer resort and a hit to its reputation for having clean beaches could also negatively impact state revenues related to tourism.

 

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, publisher, and Laura Ritter, news editor, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.