Tag: Transportation and Infrastructure

Avelo to Open New East Coast Base in Delaware

HELLO, AVELO! Avelo Airlines Announces New East Coast Base In Wilmington, Delaware

20 October, 2022  | Delaware River & Bay Authority

avelo airline opens Delaware base

Avelo debuts five Florida destinations from the Delaware Valley region Introductory one-way fares start at $49

WILMINGTON, Del. — Avelo Airlines announced today that it will open the airline’s fourth base at Wilmington Airport (ILG) next February. The new base will unlock a new era of affordable, convenient and reliable air service for the Delaware Valley, encompassing portions of four states, including Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania / Philadelphia, South Jersey and the northern Eastern Shore of Maryland.  

Avelo will initially serve five popular nonstop Florida destinations from its new east coast base in Delaware at ILG: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach. Very low introductory one-way fares starting at $49* are available at AveloAir.com. 

Avelo Airlines Founder, Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy said, “The Delaware Valley region wants and deserves more affordable, convenient and reliable air travel. Avelo was founded with a simple purpose – to Inspire Travel. Our very low fares and nonstop flights to five sun-soaked Florida destinations coupled with the fast and seamless experience at Wilmington Airport will make traveling easier than ever. We appreciate the warm reception and support Avelo is receiving from Delaware Governor John Carney, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and so many other government and business leaders here. We look forward to welcoming everyone aboard Avelo’s first ILG flight in February.”

Delaware Governor John Carney said, “We’ve made significant infrastructure investments across our state, and we’re pleased to have Avelo join us here in Delaware. Avelo will provide Delawareans and visitors a convenient way to travel. Thank you to Avelo for choosing Delaware.”

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer said, “Wilmington Airport has tremendous potential to be an economic driver in our County. We welcome Avelo to our community to provide reliable and fast service to our residents and look forward to further growth opportunities.”

Delaware River & Bay Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Cook said, “Wilmington Airport’s excellent location along the busy I-95 corridor, along with the lowest cost operating environment of any airport in the United States, offer customers the opportunity to forego the stress, expense and hassles of a big city airport. Avelo Airlines also recognizes the benefits that Wilmington Airport offers and is looking to be part of our community. It’s a great day for Delaware and more importantly, for travelers who are looking for affordable, convenient commercial air service options.”

Five Fun-in-the-Sun Nonstop Florida Destinations from New East Coast Base in Delaware

Beginning February 1, 2023, Avelo will serve five nonstop Florida destinations from ILG: 

Fort Lauderdale (FLL): A South Florida Haven

The reasons to visit Fort Lauderdale are as abundant as the sun and palm trees. There are over 300 sunny days a year, which gives visitors plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature, boating, diverse neighborhoods, events, attractions and unique “only-here” specialness that helps define Fort Lauderdale. With 24 miles of golden sandy beaches paired with waterfront dining and shopping, it’s easy to spend a day at the beach. With comfortable year-round temperatures, the Atlantic Ocean is always inviting to scuba divers, snorkelers, stand-up paddle boarders and jet skiers. The destination also boasts luxury hotels, museums, nightlife, shopping, casinos and family-friendly fun.

Fort Myers (RSW): Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast

Nestled along Southwest Florida’s clear turquoise Gulf Coast waters is the town of Fort Myers. Good days come naturally here with Fort Myers’ secluded white sand beaches and relaxing waterfront resorts that nurture a sense of casual sophistication. Visitors can sway from shopping Fort Myers’ charming boutiques, to indulging in world-class dining, to enjoying a barefoot sunset stroll on the beach. It’s been well over a century since Thomas Edison settled in “The City of Palms” — yet the community still generates an exciting energy that attracts visitors from around the world. Fort Myers promises endless ways to enjoy a romantic getaway or an activity-packed fun-in-the-sun family retreat.  

Orlando (MCO): The Theme Park Capital of the World

Endless excitement and unforgettable adventures are just minutes away for Avelo Customers arriving at Orlando’s most convenient airport – Orlando International Airport. Whether it’s a trip for families, couples, single travelers or a group of friends, Orlando is the perfect destination that ensures a memorable vacation filled with unique experiences for every visitor. While Orlando is known as the Theme Park Capital of the World for its incredible parks and attractions, there’s so much more to enjoy. The destination is also home to sizzling nightlife and a vibrant entertainment scene, craft breweries, wineries, professional sports teams and so much more. 

Tampa (TPA): The Heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast

When it comes to Tampa Bay, picturesque scenery and year-round sunshine create an ideal setting for those ready to explore and discover new treasures. With some of the world’s top-rated beaches, Tampa is a year-round haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can discover blue skies and sunshine, a sparkling waterfront, world-class chefs, family fun and a century of Cuban culture – all in one of Florida’s most diverse travel destinations.

West Palm Beach (PBI): White Sand, Turquoise Water and So Much More

The Palm Beaches are home to legendary coastline, shopping and entertainment. The area’s iconic restaurants, glitzy nightlife and unapologetically luxurious resorts attract sunseekers from across the globe. Lined with stately palm trees, this South Florida paradise is a vacationer’s nirvana. With miles of world-famous white sand beaches and turquoise water, there is a spot on this majestic Atlantic coastline for every mood and interest.

Avelo ILG Flight Schedule

Orlando (MCO)
Special Inaugural Flight Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Effective February 3, 2023 – Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays

Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
Effective February 2, 2023 – Thursdays and Sundays

Tampa (TPA)
Effective February 2, 2023 – Thursdays and Sundays

Fort Myers (RSW)
Effective February 3, 2023 – Mondays and Fridays 

West Palm Beach (PBI)
Effective February 4, 2023 – Wednesday and Saturdays

ILG — The Delaware Valley’s Ultra-Convenient Airport

Wilmington Airport offers a refreshingly smooth, simple and friendly alternative hometown airport experience. ILG’s adjacency to multiple major highways make it the Delaware Valley’s most convenient and travel-friendly airport.

Avelo will initially base one Boeing Next-Generation (NG) 737 at ILG. Avelo currently operates 11 737 NG aircraft. The airline expects to have 14 737s by the end of 2022 and 16 aircraft operating across its nationwide network by the end of next March. 

Over time, Avelo expects to serve hundreds of thousands of Customers at ILG. To support its ILG base, the airline will initially create at least 35 jobs. These positions will include a combination of Avelo Crewmembers and jobs with Avelo business partners operating at ILG. Roles will include Airport Customer Service, Flight Attendants, Pilots, Aircraft Technical Operations and Maintenance, and Supervisors. Candidates can learn more about Avelo career opportunities by visiting AveloAir.com/Careers. 

As a new airline, Avelo is an excellent opportunity for individuals at all stages of their career to join a successful and fast-growing company. Avelo offers competitive compensation, comprehensive healthcare coverage, a company-matching 401K retirement program and free space available air travel on Avelo, among many other benefits. Additionally, Avelo Crewmembers have access to Avelo University, which offers job-readiness training and ongoing career development courses. Grounded in the airline’s One Crew Value, Avelo offers an inclusive, collaborative and caring culture.  

ILG will be Avelo’s fourth base. The airline currently operates bases at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR), Southern Connecticut’s Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN) and Orlando International Airport (MCO). Avelo has postponed previously announced plans to open a base at Fort Myers’ Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) due to a significant reduction in travel demand resulting from Hurricane Ian. However, Avelo continues to operate flights between RSW and HVN and will begin operating flights between RSW and ILG in February. 

America’s Affordable and Convenient Airline

Avelo was founded with a vision to help its Customers save money and time. Since taking flight on April 28, 2021, Avelo has flown more than 1.2 million Customers on over 10,000 flights.

In addition to offering Customers everyday low fares on every route, Avelo Customers can always change or cancel their itineraries with no extra fees. Avelo also offers several unbundled travel-enhancing options that give Customers the flexibility to pay for what they value, including priority boarding, checked bags, carry-on overhead bags, and bringing a pet in the cabin.

Additionally, the American-made Boeing 737 jets Avelo flies offer a more spacious and comfortable experience than the small regional aircraft currently operating at most of the airports Avelo serves. Customers who value an advance seat assignment can choose from several modestly priced seating options, including seats with extra legroom, as well as pre-reserved window and aisle seating. One-third of seats on Avelo aircraft are available for Customers who appreciate the comfort of extra legroom. 

With the addition of ILG, Avelo serves 32 destinations across the U.S. The airline has brought more convenience, choice and competition in air travel by flying unserved routes to primarily underserved communities across the country. At least one airport on every Avelo flight is a small hometown airport – making every Avelo journey easier and more enjoyable. 

At Avelo, every flight is also nonstop. This connection-free travel experience not only provides Avelo Customers with a faster and simpler travel experience but also minimizes delays, cancellations and lost bags. In fact, Avelo has established itself as one of America’s most reliable airlines with a year-to-date flight cancellation rate of 1% and an industry-leading year-to-date checked bag handling performance of 1.9 mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags. 

Avelo is distinguished by its Soul of Service culture. The culture is grounded in Avelo’s One Crew Value which promotes a welcoming and caring experience. By caring for one another and owning their commitments, Avelo Crewmembers focus on anticipating and understanding Customer needs on the ground and in the air.

About Avelo Airlines

Avelo Airlines was founded with a simple purpose — to Inspire Travel. The airline offers Customers time and money-saving convenience, low everyday fares, and a refreshingly smooth and caring experience through its Soul of Service culture. Operating a fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, Avelo serves 32 popular destinations across the U.S., including its four bases at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR), Southern Connecticut’s Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN), Orlando International Airport (MCO) and the Delaware Valley’s Wilmington Airport (ILG). For more information visit AveloAir.com or the Avelo Newsroom at AveloAir.com/Newsroom. 

About the Delaware River and Bay Authority

The DRBA, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962, owns and operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, and the Forts Ferry Crossing. The DRBA also manages corporate and aviation properties through its economic development powers – two airports in New Jersey (Millville Airport and Cape May Airport) and three in Delaware (Wilmington Airport, Civil Air Terminal and Delaware Airpark). All DRBA operating revenues are generated through the bridge, ferry and airport facilities. For more information, visit www.drba.net.

This article was originally posted on the Delaware River & Bay Authority website at: https://www.drba.net/hello-avelo-avelo-airlines-announces-new-east-coast-base-wilmington-delaware

Kurt Foreman


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Dover/Kent County MPO Sees ‘Inseparable’ Link Between Economic Development and Transportation

Dover/Kent County MPO Sees ‘Inseparable’ Link Between Economic Development and Transportation

January 3, 2022 – 

Marilyn Smith sees a very clear role for the Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in supporting economic development efforts.

“I came from an economic development background, so I see economic development and transportation – anything that gets people or goods from Point A to Point B in Kent County, particularly those initiatives that will be primarily funded with federal dollars — as inseparable,” says Smith, who joined the MPO in December 2020 as executive director, replacing the retiring Reed Macmillan. “I don’t know how you can realistically pursue economic development without the transportation infrastructure in place to support it. It’s not my job to go out and attract companies. But it is my responsibility to make sure that we don’t miss opportunities because someone said Dover or Kent County doesn’t have the roads to get us from A to B.”

“Like everyone, things were humming along before the pandemic and then everything came to a screeching halt,” she adds. “Things started coming back right as I came on board [in December 2020]. We had to assess where we were with the projects that had started, asking whether anything had happened that would change the scope of those projects and our ability to work with our consultants to complete them.”

At the beginning of the current fiscal year on July 1, the MPO prioritized some new projects and started working on those.

“A lot of our projects are focused on rail and freight movement, and a couple are devoted to bicycle and pedestrian,” said Smith, whose previous role was supporting a Democratic Congressman from upstate New York and is now responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the MPO while ensuring compliance with Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) directives and oversight requirements. “We also have a few more traditional projects on such things as interchanges and traffic movement.”

Smith says it’s been an “interesting adjustment” coming from a state the size of New York.

“It can take you the day to traverse from end to end in New York,” she said. “Delaware is small. There are two degrees of separation between everybody. You don’t have that same bottleneck that I oftentimes experienced in a big diverse state where people are very far flung and you have lots of bureaus or departments. It certainly does allow us to move things quickly. If there’s a question, you can find someone who has the answer pretty fast.”

One of the things that she enjoys about her new role is the work that’s already been done to focus on the county’s strengths.

“We’re not chasing 100 things in Kent County, we’re focused on the things that we have determined we can be good at, or where we see opportunities,” she says.

For example, Kent County economic development officials commissioned a study that indicated the county should pursue opportunities in logistics warehousing, given the proximity to so many large population centers, the proximity to ports, the proximity to rail, and the availability of some large parcels of land that could lend well to that kind of business to that industry.

Over the past few months, the MPO and others in Kent County finished up a few projects that were started before Smith’s arrival, including the Harrington intermodal study, the Dover Air Cargo study and the City of Dover’s update of its bicycle and pedestrian plan, providing each entity with a solid roadmap.

Smith says there are a lot of places that do a pile of studies that ultimately just gather dust in a drawer, but the Dover/Kent County MPO has a history of providing solid recommendations and implementation plans so that the municipalities can take them and run and see something good come out of them.

“The City of Harrington and Kent Economic Partnership came to the MPO in 2019 and asked us to look at four largely undeveloped parcels – one owned by the city itself — that are adjacent to the rail spur in Harrington. The owners were willing to discuss the feasibility of a multi-modal industrial park but didn’t know exactly what it would look like. So the MPO’s study was designed to talk to the railroad and a potential terminal operator and explore the likelihood of goods and commodities coming in and out via rail versus completely being transported by truck.”

“One of the studies we finished in the last couple of months was how we could connect the Dover Air Cargo facility north of the Air Force Base and the Garrison Oaks Industrial Park that are a few miles apart,” she says. “There are a lot of one-lane roads with no shoulders, no striping, that go through residential areas. We needed to ask what we can do to make these things workable for each other because we’ve apparently had some site selectors respectfully pass on pursuing it further simply because of transportation and connection issues.”

Smith also sees opportunities to move forward with addressing other infrastructure opportunities that are already in the pipeline, such as separating commercial traffic from residential traffic at the East Camden and West Camden bypasses.

“I think it’s a mixed bag,” she said. “I think there are some places where traffic moves pretty well and supports industrial development and some places where we still have some work to do.”

But the Kent County organization is not focused just on industrial property. Where some might look ahead and see an opportunity for large family-owned farms to sell their land, Smith sees potential for farmers to change their business models to moving their products on rail cars instead of by truck.

“People are having problems finding truckers, fuel prices are going up, and we need to be very concerned about air quality,” she says. “This is a great project because it seems simple, but it could be really transformative for decades to come.”

Smith also says Kent County is working hard to make sure that anything that organizations like the MPO are working on do not leave out traditionally underserved or disenfranchised groups of people.

Focusing on those issues are at the top of MPO’s list as it looks at previous studies on passenger rail and some of the challenges with that, she says. “I think some people are changing their views that passenger rail in Delaware needs to be Amtrak. I grew up in Utah and they were having to figure out how to deal with hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics. In the 20-plus years since moving from Utah, the light rail system that was designed to move athletes and spectators to different venues has expanded to being a primary way of moving people north and south and east and west.”

“Transportation can transform the lives of people,” she says. “I think the importance of having access to transportation to get to work, getting to education, meeting basic life needs like health and food often gets overlooked and we’re [Dover/Kent County MPO] committed to addressing those challenges.”

‘Epiphany” brought Marilyn Smith to Delaware from Upstate NY

MAGNOLIA — Marilyn Smith and her husband spend their weekends in the car, getting to know the state after moving here from Upstate New York in early 2021.

“It obviously serves a professional purpose for me,” says the executive director of the Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

“My husband is a school bus driver so he’s all over the place,” she says. “Sometimes he just says, I have got to take you to this place where I went and picked up kids the other day. You’ve got to see this.”

An undergraduate of Weber State University, with a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Utah, Smith came to the Dover/Kent County MPO from a role as senior economic development advisor for Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20).

The parents of two children, Marilyn and Steve are empty nesters who enjoy “grabbing our kayaks and going in a different body of water that we haven’t been in.”

Smith says she is “very pleased that there are four distinct seasons here,” particularly given that her last stop in Upstate New York often found her shoveling six feet of snow. “I also like that Magnolia is 10 minutes from my work. In New York, I was commuting an hour each way, so I was driving a minimum of 500 miles a week. I love that I can work until six o’clock if I want to and that it’s not after seven when I get home.”

She’s not ready to talk about “favorite restaurants” given the pandemic (“we are very pleased to have found a couple of good Mexican restaurants because where we came from wasn’t known for good Mexican food”), and she says she loves watching the planes flying into and out of Dover Air Force Base.

“We are close enough to the flight path that will never get old as long as I live, and we’re 10 minutes from the beach, so what’s not to love?”

The Smiths had their eyes set on Delaware well before the MPO position became available.

“We had been vacationing for a few years and we had said, we’ll retire to Delaware. And one day last summer, I had an epiphany and said maybe they shouldn’t wait to retire to move to Delaware.

“It occurred to me that when you retire and go to a place, you plop yourselves down in that place and you expect that community to just embrace you for the rest of your life, but you don’t have any skin in the game. That was really a motivating factor for us. It’s easy to have skin in the game when you have kids because you have the PTA and youth sports and all this and that. As an empty nester couple, we’re really pleased that we have been able to get out and start building some of those relationships.”

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GT USA Wilmington Launches new Infrastructure Investments

GT USA Wilmington launches new infrastructure investments


GT USA Wilmington is on track with its first improvements at the Port of Wilmington after its first quarter managing the facility, according to its new CEO, Eric Casey.

“GT USA Wilmington is immensely proud to have received a 50-year concession to operate the port and to provide $600 million to upgrade and expand the terminal,” Casey said.

Improvement and extension of the dock and crane rail are under way, and these projects should be completed by this summer at a cost of $17 million. GT USA is also enhancing warehouse storage by increasing racking for palletized cargo.

According to Casey, the port will soon begin work on upgrading cargo throughput capacity from 350,000 TEUs to 600,000 TEUs, along with new capacity for roll-on/roll-off cargo.

Casey was appointed CEO of GT USA Wilmington LLC in October. He was previously vice president of Virginia International Terminals and an executive at Maersk Line. Casey spent 26 years with the U.S. Marine Corps, including roles in Special Operations, a National-Level Special Mission Unit and tours in Force Reconnaissance.

GT USA Wilmington, a subsidiary of UAE-based Gulftainer, signed a 50-year concession agreement last September to operate and expand the Port of Wilmington, Delaware, which has served shipping lines since 1923.

As part of the concession agreement, Gulftainer will invest significantly in the port by building a new container facility at DuPont’s former Edgemoor site. GT USA Wilmington also will establish a training facility for the ports and logistics industries, which is expected to train up to 1,000 people a year.

This article was originally posted on the Maritime Executive at: https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/gt-usa-wilmington-launches-new-infrastructure-investments

Kurt Foreman


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Wilmington PharmaTech to Expand in Delaware; Planning New Large-Scale Manufacturing Facility

Wilmington PharmaTech to expand in Delaware; planning new large-scale manufacturing facility

25 FEBRUARY, 2019

Wilmington PharmaTech, with locations in Newark, Delaware and Suzhou Jiangsu, China, is expanding – planning to hire up to 139 new employees and invest $18 million in a new state-of-the-science research and manufacturing facility, to be located on 2309 Sunset Lake Road in Newark, Delaware.

Wilmington PharmaTech, in operation since 2003, is a Contract Research/Manufacturing Organization that provides integrated services to pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms to expedite new pharmaceutical product development. One of their main offerings is manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API’s) and related materials under cGMP, which is an important aspect in the drug development process that is required to ensure product quality and provide consistency during formulation and manufacture.

PharmaTech currently employs 37 full-time staff in the United States in several Newark locations including a 16,000 square foot building at 229A Lake Drive, a 50,000 square foot facility on Sunset Lake Road (previously owned by DuPont) and a 40,000 square foot building at Pencader Drive.

“Wilmington PharmaTech’s expansion shows Delaware’s distinctive strength in supporting biotechnology and pharmaceutical start-up companies and builds on a foundation that began more than 200 years ago with the DuPont Company,” said Governor John Carney.  “We remain committed to supporting job growth throughout Delaware.”

Dr. Ke Li, PMP®, PharmaTech’s Director of Operations, presented the company’s growth plans to the Council on Development Finance (CDF) on Monday, February 25, including the plan to build a new, large-scale pharmaceutical production facility. Wilmington PharmaTech requested a $300,400 performance-based grant to support adding new jobs and a grant of $360,000 for assistance with capital costs.

“This marks the next wave of growth, positioning Wilmington PharmaTech as the leader in new drug manufacturing in the US,” Said Hui-Yin Harry Li, Ph.D., President and CEO of Wilmington PharmaTech. “This expansion scales up operations and significantly enhances offerings to our clients in API manufacturing and related services. It also expands our portfolio of research, development, and potential commercial API services. PharmaTech’s expansion plans fulfill the commitment to growth and its hallmark reputation for excellence for our employees, customers, partners and our community in the state of Delaware.”

About Wilmington PharmaTech

Wilmington PharmaTech is a fully integrated Contract Research/Manufacturing Organization (CRO/CMO) specializing in chemical process research and cGMP manufacturing, analytical method development and validation.  The soon-to-be-built Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) manufacturing will serve the growing pharmaceutical, biotech and virtual biotech startups and as a one-stop contract research and manufacturing service provider. To learn more about Wilmington PharmaTech, please visit http://www.wilmingtonpharmatech.com.

 About Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Delaware Prosperity Partnership is a nonprofit that leads the state of Delaware’s economic development efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses; to build a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem; and to support private employers in identifying, recruiting and developing talent in the state of Delaware.

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Wilmington Office Buildings’ Internet Certification Could Bring Boost to Downtown

Wilmington office buildings’ Internet certification could bring boost to downtown


Two office buildings in Wilmington have achieved a “best-in-class” level of Internet and technology infrastructure, a commercial real estate designation that city officials and real estate companies hope will give a boost to business downtown.

The two buildings which total 1 million square feet in rental office space are located at 1201 N. Market St. and 1313 N. Market St, the Hercules building.

They were given a platinum certification by WiredScore, the highest designation for the company which scores buildings’ Internet infrastructure for potential tenants.

High quality Internet connections are a crucial part of a building’s infrastructure for companies looking for office space. Financial institutions or law offices, for example, need to be able to efficiently share data, send files and make transactions across the country and globe.

The 1201 N. Market St. building is 85 percent occupied, while the Hercules building is 70 percent occupied, said Scott Johnson of building owner McConnell Johnson Real Estate.

About 1,700 buildings worldwide have received WiredScore certifications. Johnson said only about 120 boast the highest platinum status.

The infrastructure certification came thanks to state and private efforts to expand fiber optic cables, which provide higher bandwidth and the ability to transmit data over longer distances than traditional cables.

A state grant coupled with private investment helped fiber companies build more than 250 miles of cables throughout Delaware since 2013.

One of the downtown buildings that got the certification is the site of a connection hub that links the fiber cables in Delaware to thousands of miles of cables in the mid-Atlantic region and the rest of the U.S.

At a news conference, Mayor Mike Purzycki praised the certification and said it “put us on the map in another way.”

Real estate brokers say downtown Wilmington is becoming more attractive to businesses, but the city has struggled with downtown vacancies, often competing with commercial areas in the suburbs. The recent sale of two Bank of America buildings has left a visible chunk of office space downtown empty.

Rick Kingery, a real estate broker with Colliers International, said the fiber optics cables expansion has made Wilmington’s Internet connectivity strong overall. The WiredScore certification, he said, helps owners market their office space as comparable to one in, say, Manhattan.

“What you’re seeing at 1201 is just a landlord actually getting a certification to show how strong the speeds are,” he said. “It further broadcasts something that real estate professionals already knew.”

Johnson said the certification allows downtown Wilmington to compete for companies when it otherwise may have been overlooked.

“If we didn’t have this infrastructure we wouldn’t see anybody” interested, Johnson said. “It allows us to play in the game. Everybody depends on running data.”

Kurt Foreman


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Study Sees Big Benefits from Investing in Delaware’s Infrastructure

Study sees big benefits from investing in Delaware’s infrastructure


An analysis from the national Business Roundtable reveals that a significant reinvestment in U.S. public infrastructure systems would add $1,000 in disposable income for the average Delaware household every year for 20 years and create 3,000 additional new jobs in Delaware over the next decade.

Prepared by the Interindustry Forecasting Project at the University of Maryland, the economic analysis shows that as a result of increased infrastructure investment over a 20-year period,

Delaware would benefit from:

– $8 billion of additional output from personal and non-tradable services;
– $6 billion of additional output from finance, insurance and real estate; and
– $3 billion of additional output from construction.

The study also shows that, nationally, infrastructure investment would raise wages by $1.34 per hour and, for every dollar invested in infrastructure, economic growth would increase by $3.70 over a 20-year time horizon.

On January 17, Governor John Carney proposed in his State of the State Address to invest $10 million to create a new Transportation Infrastructure Fund that would “help the state to react quickly to important economic development projects.”

The Delaware Business Roundtable believes the national Business Roundtable’s research shows the General Assembly should back the governor’s infrastructure proposal.

“This new study demonstrates the wisdom of Governor Carney’s proposal to beef up infrastructure funding in Delaware,” Delaware Business Roundtable Executive Director Robert Perkins said. “A significant investment in our infrastructure will have real and lasting benefits for Delaware’s taxpayers.”

The study analyzes the economic impacts of the following scenario: (1) a $737 billion investment is made over 10 years in America’s surface transportation, water and sewer systems, aviation, water resources and water transportation; and (2) thereafter, a new normal

for infrastructure spending by holding public capital investment infrastructure steady at a fixed share of GDP, in the range of 1.2 percent. This investment would return infrastructure systems to a state of good repair, expand capacity to meet future demand and fund innovative approaches to future infrastructure challenges.

This article was originally posted on the Delaware Business Times at: https://delawarebusinessnow.com/2019/01/study-sees-big-benefits-from-investing-in-delawares-infrastructure/

Kurt Foreman


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Chemours Opens New Global HQ in Renovated DuPont Building

Chemours opens new global HQ in renovated DuPont Building

16 JANUARY, 2019

The Chemours Company, a global chemical firm, opened its renovated company headquarters on January 15 within the historic, 106-year-old DuPont Building on Rodney Square in downtown Wilmington — the former headquarters of DuPont, which spun off Chemours in 2015.

“This is a place that our team can be proud to call home,” Chemours President and CEO Mark Vergnano told the gathering of local dignitaries. “Our renovated office is a perfect metaphor for Chemours – a company grounded in its legacy, but transforming into an agile, innovative and collaborative enterprise with a bias for actions and growth.”

Now in his fourth year as leader of the new company, Vergnano expressed continued confidence about Chemours’ future growth in a time of market turmoil. In an interview with Delaware Business Times after the ceremony, Vegnano said, “People recognize that we’re the world leaders in our fields, and the market gets that,” he said, referring to the decentralized firm’s three operating units – Titanium Technologies, Fluoroproducts and Chemical Solutions.

The new headquarters will occupy 280,000 square feet in an 11-story segment of the building that is owned by the Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG), which also oversaw the 20-month renovation. Chemours’ share of construction costs was $30 million.

Vergnano said his company made a conscious decision not to change the building’s name to the Chemours Building out of respect for the company’s heritage, which dates back to the founding of DuPont on Brandywine Creek in 1802.

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Gov. John Carney, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and BPG Co-President Christopher Buccini were among the speakers at the ceremony and ribbon-cutting event that took place in the ornate Nobel Room on the 11th Floor.

Buccini purchased the building, including the Hotel du Pont, from Chemours in 2017 and set about revitalizing the structure, including adding residential units.

“After having renovated the Nemours and Brandywine buildings earlier, we had the knowledge of what worked and what didn’t work,” Buccini said. “This project stressed tested our company’s capabilities.” In his prepared remarks, Buccini noted that “Chemours’ decision to be based in this historic building is a fitting tribute to their heritage, while their 21st Century workspace points boldly to their future. We are proud to have been on this journey with them.”

Approximately 850 Chemours employees and contractors will work in the headquarters, which has 125 meeting rooms, 73 conference rooms and one café per floor of the building. The structure’s open-concept design features ergonomic chairs and sit/stand desks. In addition, 500 marble panels were recovered during renovation– about 50 tons in all – and reused in the building.

Carney noted that “this is probably the happiest day I’ve had in my two years as governor,” crediting the work done toward keeping Chemours in Wilmington and Delaware by his predecessor, former governor Jack Markell. “The state of Delaware can’t be successful without Wilmington being successful, and Wilmington can’t be successful” without a strong business base.

Purzycki, who followed Governor Carney to the podium, said, “If John is happy, you can’t imagine how happy the mayor of Wilmington is.”

Business analysts continue to be bullish on Chemours, most rating it a “buy” or “strong buy” to potential investors. Vergnano expressed confidence in the strength of the American economy, while noting that global market volatility continued to make the company’s stock undervalued. “I was given the advice by other CEO’s when I took over not to check the stock price every day,” he said. “We can’t control market volatility, which is a reflection of the fact that the market hates uncertainty.”

He re-stated his opinion that Chemours, with its worldwide manufacturing and marketing capabilities, is positioned better than most companies to weather this uncertainty, which includes tariff wars, the slowdown of the Chinese economy and what will play out with Brexit, the UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU.

“We’re not interested in acquisitions or new business outside the three areas where we have a strong presence,” he said. “Second, we will continue to invest in ourselves [through normal business expansion]. And, we will continue to provide cash back to our stockholders.”

Chemours had annual revenue in 2017 of more than $6 billion and with 45 manufacturing and laboratory sites worldwide, serving customers in over 130 countries.

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Angel Investor Tax Credit Puts Delaware in the Top 10 for Tech

Angel investor tax credit puts Delaware in the top 10 for tech


The Milken Institute has been publishing its biannual State Technology and Science Index since 2002, a study that evaluates each state in the U.S. by several factors, including access to startup capital and startup activity.

Delaware cracked the top 10 in 2016. Now, thanks to a new tax law that allows gives startup investors a credit on investments over $10,000, the state is ranked higher than it’s ever been previously, at No. 7.

The tax credit bill, the Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act for Small Technology Companies, signed into law by Governor John Carney last May, gave Delaware a big boost in the study. In the sub-index measuring the ability of tech and science companies to obtain investment, Delaware previously had a below-average rank of 29. Now, that factor is ranked 15.

In two of the study’s sub-indexes, Delaware ranked No. 5: the strength of its tech and science workforce, and its business startup rate of 53.4 per 1,000 residents.

The top four ranked states — Massachusetts (1), Colorado (2), Maryland (3) and California (4) — have all maintained the same ranking since 2016. Washington and Minnesota each dropped one place, but remain in the top 10.

Elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic, Pennsylvania is No. 13 (up from 14 in 2016), and New Jersey dropped from 17 to 21.

Kurt Foreman


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Could the Air Cargo Ramp Initiative Take off This Time?

Could the air cargo ramp initiative take off this time?

22 SEPTEMBER, 2018

One unfulfilled economic development idea always seems to resurface in Kent County.

“When I bring this up, people are going to snicker,” said Linda Parkowski Tuesday at the Kent Economic Summit at Delaware Technical Community College.

“We’re looking at the air cargo ramp. This has been around and discussed for 30 years.”

The air cargo ramp idea utilizes Dover Air Force Base for private carriers’ cargo flights, related to what currently is used in support of the base and potentially what could be in support of commerce in the area.

Ms. Parkowski, just a few months into her new role as executive director of the Kent Economic Partnership, outlined the priorities of the office during a 25-minute presentation.

Largely, the new public-private ideas are building off insights obtained in Rockport Analytics’ research about the county. One of the immediate hopes, she said, is to boost Kent County’s role in warehousing, distribution and logistics – areas the researchers said would be great possibilities for the county.

The air cargo ramp might just be a great tie-in, she said.

When you go back to some of the original discussion and initiatives outlined in the past few decades, the air cargo ramp largely was pitched as a place to “park” and service private cargo planes in what was formerly called the “Civil Air Terminal” area at Dover Air Force Base. Cargo outfits such Evergreen and Atlas would fly in to the base, but not be able to stay so the planes would be flown to Philadelphia and costs amounted to tens of thousands of dollars each time.

“I see this as, hopefully, a Port of Wilmington for Kent County if we can get this working,” said Ms. Parkowski.

With two fingers slightly apart, she said, “DelDOT has done an amazing job and we’re this close to signing a joint use agreement.”

One big difference, she noted, was that previous discussions of a Joint Use Agreement between the state and the Air Force only called for two-year agreements. The new agreement calls for a 50-year agreement.”

Nothing has been signed at this point, Ms. Parkowski said.

One of the next steps, she said, would be to issue a request for information to find out what its potential uses could be.

The prospects of it working also relate to available land in the adjacent Kent County Aeropark where there are several available acres.

The Kent Economic Partnership is a nonprofit organization that was restructured earlier this year with a collaborative agreement of Kent County Levy Court and the Greater Kent Committee, a group of business leaders.

The air cargo ramp would be what formerly was called the Civil Air Terminal at the end of Horsepond Road in Dover. Currently, the terminal is most used on NASCAR weekends when drivers and crews arrive and depart in private planes.

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Port of Wilmington Privatization Deal Promises More Jobs, Stable Economic Future

Port of Wilmington privatization deal promises more jobs, stable economic future

18 SEPTEMBER, 2018

Delaware officials on Tuesday signed a final agreement with Emirati port operator Gulftainer to privatize the Port of Wilmington.

Gov. John Carney and Gulftainer officials signed a document commemorating the agreement in front of a crowd of state and local government officials.

Badr Jafar, chairman of Gulftainer’s executive board, said the deal and accompanying growth in the state’s port business will “firmly establish Wilmington as the largest logistics facility on the Delaware River and the leading food gateway on the East Coast.”

Carney said the deal would secure and grow the state’s current maritime workforce and blunt Delaware’s loss of “blue-collar jobs” over recent years.

“I come here with a big smile … knowing that what we are going to do here today is to secure the jobs of the people and the families who work here at the port and those who are going to work in the years to come,” Carney said.

Under terms of the 50-year deal, a U.S. subsidiary of Gulftainer will take over operations of the existing port of Wilmington at the confluence of the Christina and Delaware rivers.

It will invest some $600 million in upgrades and build a new container-handling terminal on the Delaware at Edgemoor, officials have said.

State officials estimate the takeover could double the 5,700 port and maritime-related jobs in Delaware.

A spokesman for Carney declined to provide a copy of the agreement but said it will be made available after a legal review.

The agreement takes effect in the coming two weeks, officials said. The state will continue to own the existing port property as well as the Edgemoor property, which was once DuPont Co.’s Edge Moor chemical production facility. The state bought that property for $10 million in 2016.

Per the agreement, the state will receive concession payments from Gulftainer totaling about $10 million a year in the coming decades.

The company, based in the United Arab Emirates, opened its first U.S. container facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2015. The company has ports in the UAE, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Brazil and is a subsidiary of the Crescent Enterprises, a privately held UAE conglomerate.

“The underlying potential of the north American market has long been an aspiration for Gulftainer,” Jafar, the company chairman, said.

Jafar said the company will double the container throughout of the current port to “underpin” the development at Edgemoor.

The agreement sets a goal for a 75 percent increase in traffic for non-containerized goods like liquids and automobiles, officials have said.

Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock, who chairs the port’s operating board, said the kind of jobs created will “secure the state’s future.”

“You can still get big things done in our state,” Bullock said.

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The Future of Transportation in the First State

The future of transportation in the First State

28 AUGUST, 2018

How we’ll roll: Trains, Planes and Driverless Cars

Transportation planners and experts are careful about predicting how Delawareans will get around in 30 years, but they’re more certain about how they won’t. Many argue that building more roads, highways and parking lots is a trend in need of reversal.

“Building new roads is not where the country is,” said Jennifer Cohan, secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation. “We are not building our way out of traffic congestion.”

“If everyone continues to drive their own car, we’ll have problems,” said Bill Swiatek, a principal planner at the Wilmington Area Planning Council, or WILMAPCO, a planning group that coordinates transportation spending. “We have to convince people that roads are finite resources.”

But the gulf between what planners say the state needs and what residents want is wider than ever.

Instead of choosing transit-accessible Wilmington, about half of household growth until 2040 will take place in suburbs along the I-95 corridor, WILMAPCO predicts.

As a result, WILMAPCO projects that 61 percent of transportation spending on new projects in New Castle County over the next two decades will go to eight major roadways south of U.S. 40.

Non-road projects, such as the extension of commuter rail in Maryland from Perryville to Elkton, and major work on a trail linking Wilmington to New Castle, are in the works as well, but most funding will continue to pay for road improvements and construction.

Meanwhile, transit ridership is declining. Delawareans are buying more cars than ever, and Census data shows that more people are choosing to drive alone. Even carpooling has seen major declines since the 1980s.

Whether and how Delaware can reverse this cycle of sprawl and infrastructure spending will be a central question for its business community. Though businesses tend to be agnostic on the question of how people get around, ensuring access to workers, goods and markets is essential, said Kurt Foreman, executive director of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership.

Major questions remain on how to pay for it all. Delaware’s trust fund is projected to grow at an annualized rate of 1.4 percent through 2023. If people buy fewer high-mileage cars, the state will stumble toward a crisis. Another approach, paying by the mile, is unpopular for now but seeing a concerted push from policy experts.

Here is a look at some of the transportation projects and trends coming to Delaware and what they could mean for the state in the years, and even decades, to come.

Infill and redevelopment

As a home to one of the first north-south roads through the Thirteen Colonies, and Native American trails before that, Claymont has long been tied to its infrastructure, said Brett Saddler, a resident who leads a public-private nonprofit called the Claymont Renaissance Development Corp.

Today, that means a connection to mass transit, but the current rail station is “nothing more than a glorified bus shelter,” Saddler said.

In 2013, the closure of Claymont Steel hit the community hard, but the 425-acre site presented an opportunity. A new station is slated to open by the end of 2020. The station serves about 1,200 weekday commuters.

Nearby businesses stand to benefit, too.

“Tri-State Mall is licking their chops,” he said.

What’s happening in Claymont is a good example of what planners call “infill” development, which targets vacant or under-used land within existing communities. It takes advantage of existing infrastructure and avoids sprawl, but it’s often more expensive than building on a blank slate.

In other words, it’s an uphill battle. While greenfield development happens naturally in some places, infill often requires government help.

“I have no doubt that if we and the community did not lobby for the investment, we wouldn’t be looking at what’s potentially going to happen there now,” Saddler said.

Road diets and bottom-up outreach

On DelDOT’s long-range planning website, called “Innovation in Motion,” the department compares two roads: A typical four-lane city street and the road of the future, a two-lane road with dedicated bus and bicycling lanes. Owner-occupied cars are still on the stage of these future roads, but they’re moved to a supporting role.

For an example of how these transformations, often called “road diets,” look, consider Newark’s experience with Cleveland Avenue, a busy four-lane road lined with car dealerships.

A 2001 attempt to put Cleveland on a diet went nowhere, as businesses along the 1.1-mile project route objected to slimming the road to two lanes. So the plan was put on the shelf.

Then it was dusted off in 2015, when the city and state, spurred by accident data showing that Cleveland was a particularly dangerous stretch of road, took another shot at the project. This time, they recruited businesses and other interests in the area to a task force, allowing them to join the process.

During one site visit, Acting City Manager Tom Coleman remembers watching families push strollers across four lanes of traffic.

“I thought, ‘If we don’t do something, someone’s going to get killed out here,’” he said.

After this summer’s project, Cleveland Avenue will be two lanes in each direction, with a center turn lane where needed. There are also bike lanes in each direction and pedestrian “refuge islands” in the middle to make it easier to cross on foot.

Road diets will likely be a bigger part of Delaware’s transportation network over the coming decades, according to Coleman. His advice is to engage a wide mix of interests early on.

“I think you’re going to have trouble with a top-down approach to implementing these just because [removing driving lanes] can be so counterintuitive,” he said.

Making transit ‘sexy’

An estimated 17 percent of people in the area depend on transit, but many view it with skepticism, said Dave Gula, a principal planner at WILMAPCO.

But if the future is going to become more transit-oriented, planners say bus travel will have to appeal to people who don’t have to take it.

“What you’re seeing us focus on now is trying to make transit sexy,” said Cohan, the DelDOT leader. That means adding amenities like free wireless internet and phone-charging stations.

Delaware bus riders can now track the location of their bus in real-time and pay via mobile app for summer beach buses. Adults older than 65 were the top downloaders for the beach bus app, Cohan said.

Allowing older adults to remain independent even if they can’t drive — along with young people who prefer not to —is an important part of transit’s role, said Heather Dunigan, also a principal planner at WILMAPCO.

But the viability of transit is limited by sprawl; the farther buses have to travel, the longer routes become, and the more transfers are necessary.

“The disconnect between land-use planning and transportation infrastructure has been part of the uphill battle,” Cohan said. “Of course, more development is great, but if transportation infrastructure doesn’t keep pace, you end up with a situation like you see at the beach.”

Getting dense

In 1920, three out of every four New Castle County residents lived in Wilmington. Today, about one in eight do. As the car made it possible to live farther afield, infrastructure spending struggled to catch up.

“A lot of New Castle County was built in a way that will never pay for itself,” Coleman said. Expanding roads simply leads to more demand for housing, more drivers and eventually more demand for roads.

A 2014 WILMAPCO survey found that 71 percent of respondents thought development should occur in existing towns and growth areas, while only 29 percent thought it should happen where developers choose.

But restrictions on property rights are a tough sell in America. Foreman noted that the term “sprawl” has negative connotations that presuppose “there’s something wrong with people developing their land where they’d like to.”

That said, Foreman said the transition toward denser spaces won’t need to be led by regulators. Instead, as people demand different places, developers will respond.

“They’re thinking about the quality of place now, and what value proposition that a resident of their community gets, whether it’s a riverfront or a ballpark or a walking trail,” he said.

A self-driven future

Generally, experts talk about self-driving or autonomous vehicles on a continuum, with Level 0 being entirely driver-controlled and Level 5 being entirely automated, with no steering wheel, pedals or breaks. Vehicles from Levels 1 through 4 have varying levels of automation, but a driver needs to take the wheel in certain situations.

Level 2 vehicles, which can brake, steer and accelerate on their own but need a driver, are already on the road. How long before we see a Level 5 vehicle — and the full promise of driverless vehicles — is not yet clear, said Ken Grant, public and government affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“I think it’s coming faster than most people would expect,” he said. “Does that mean next year? No. Within 10 years? Maybe. Within 20 years? Probably.”

Imagine a car that is competent enough to drive itself, but still needs a human driver to step in every once in a while. Expecting drivers to react quickly, especially when a car can drive itself most of the time, may be too much to expect.

“That’s kind of dicey,” Grant said of these Level 3 and 4 vehicles. “That’s one area of transition that’s going to be tricky.”

For this reason, some automakers, including Ford, have said they intend to skip over this level.

Technology, though, tends to change more quickly than behavior. It’s one thing to pick up an iPhone and another to change how you get to work every day. Even when self-driving cars are common, will ride-sharing follow suit?

DelDOT has asked the University of Delaware to investigate the state’s readiness for autonomous vehicles. The university’s April 2017 report is largely positive, suggesting the state already has an extensive telecom network and is planning new efforts to prepare the state for driverless vehicles.

Still, long-distance commutes are likely to increase, triggering more sprawl and environmental degradation, said Philip Barnes, a co-author of the report and an associate policy scientist in UD’s Institute for Public Administration.

“The real, real question here is how’re we going to pay for all this,” he said. “This is not going to be cheap.”

Paying by the mile

As drivers move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, hybrids and electrics, they save gas money but cut down on the Delaware’s 23-cents-a-gallon gas tax.

Delaware is one of many states part of a “huge policy discussion around implementation of mileage-based user fee,” said Barnes of UD.

Grant, with AAA, is a part of DelDOT’s trial run to charge residents based on how many miles they drive instead of how much gas they use. At the end of the month, the device tells him how many miles in each state he drove and receives an informational “bill” (the pilot is not actually collecting money) that deducts the gas taxes he paid.

“It doesn’t say exactly how many trips I’ve taken to Dunkin Donuts, which I’m glad of because my wife doesn’t get to see that,” Grant said, joking.

A 2018 WILMAPCO survey found that 74 percent of residents of Cecil and New Castle counties did not support paying by the mile.

Cohan said there are two major misunderstandings about a mileage-based fee. First, people think their location is being tracked in real time, though the state merely collects information once a month. Second, people think the tax will be in addition to the gas tax, rather than instead of it.

Robert Perkins, a Wilmington business executive who leads the Delaware Business Roundtable, said it’s too early to tell whether the mileage-based tax is the right answer.

“I think most people believe the gas tax is an equitable way to fund transportation, but it’s very wise for the state to look at other ways to pay for infrastructure needs,” he said.

Barnes thinks most people will support a mileage-based fee if it’s explained clearly to them, but there is always a Plan B.

“When our potholes don’t get filled, when bridges crumble,” he said, people will take notice.

That said, predictions about new taxes or automated vehicles should be taken with skepticism, Barnes said. “It’s crystal ball gazing and anyone who says they know for certain is not being honest with themselves.”

Regardless of whether drivers can be persuaded to adopt new ways of getting around, Foreman, the business leader, said there will be opportunities.

“What I like about Delaware is that we’re small enough that I don’t think the solutions will daunt us,” he said. “Our small scale gives us connectedness and an ability to dialogue that bodes well for our future.”

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Every Delawarean Deserves Access to High-Speed Internet

Every Delawarean deserves access to high-speed internet

9 AUGUST, 2018

Applying for a job, or recruiting talented employees for your business. Taking a college course. Reading a book. Helping your kids with math homework.

More and more, these are tasks that Delawareans are completing online — to further their education, acquire new skills, and compete in an economy that is evolving every day.

My most important job as governor is to make sure that Delaware has a strong, growing, and competitive economy. That’s why it’s so important for us to expand access to high-speed broadband service across our state — especially in areas where service is spotty or unavailable today.

Over the next two years, working with partners in the private sector, we plan to eliminate broadband deserts and ensure that every Delaware citizen and business has access to high-speed broadband service.

Delaware has consistently been recognized for having among the fastest internet speeds in the country. Ensuring reliable access to the internet for even more Delawareans will help prepare our young people for the economy of the future, and it will help our existing workforce do their jobs even better.

Recently, during a tour of Delaware Electric Cooperative in Greenwood, we saw how important broadband access is to the delivery of electricity across Kent and Sussex counties.

One night at 11 p.m., Josh Wharton, a Delaware Electric Cooperative operations supervisor, received a call about a fire on another company’s power line. The company asked Josh to redirect power to 5,000 customers before their service was impacted. From his home in Gumboro, Josh used an iPad to keep the lights on for 5,000 Delawareans.

How was that possible? A high-speed, remote internet connection.

Businesses need to reach their customers, and so they set up shop in locations that enable them to communicate efficiently. High-speed broadband is critical for companies of all sizes, and it’s why we’re working to ensure businesses have access to quality internet service statewide.

We also heard from R.C. and Brent Willin of Willin Farms on how their fifth-generation family farm uses the internet to make adjustments to planting, monitor equipment, and manage business operations.

We want all of Delaware’s farms to have access to this type of technology. Expanding access to high-speed broadband is essential for Delaware’s agriculture sector to remain competitive.

Here’s how we plan to expand high-speed broadband access in Delaware: In August, we will release a request for proposals (RFP) to improve broadband availability in rural areas throughout Delaware by creating opportunity for the private sector to develop and offer that service wirelessly.

Through this RFP and subsequent partnerships, the State will enable wireless service to homes and businesses where broadband service is not readily available, particularly in rural Kent and Sussex counties.

Delaware will find ways to lower the cost of internet service for lower income families. If we want all Delaware families to have a shot at success, they need to be able to apply for a job and complete homework assignments – tasks that become incredibly complicated without access to the internet.

We’ll make it more attractive for private sector internet service providers to bring wireless coverage to Delaware by subsidizing capital costs through a rural broadband grant program, making it possible for providers to invest and develop in rural areas.

This is about increasing opportunity for all Delawareans — and making sure that no one in our state is left behind because they don’t have adequate access to technology.

We are building on earlier work across our state that has achieved results. Delaware has worked diligently to expand broadband access across the state for several years.

Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins has worked with school district leaders to upgrade digital infrastructure and dramatically increase internet speeds in 48 schools statewide — many in areas that are under-served.

As part of an initiative through the Delaware Department of Technology and Information, a company called Bloosurf launched a pilot project in the City of Seaford, which offered free internet service to customers within 8 miles of wireless access points throughout the city.

That helped Delawareans like Kim Hopkins, a Seaford teacher, who previously had trouble grading papers, preparing lesson plans, and helping her children with their homework because of a slow, spotty internet connection.

The State of Delaware made an initial public investment in increasing our digital infrastructure, which has led to over $30 million in private investment. As a result, we have 700 miles of fiber broadband lines bringing high-speed internet to homes, businesses, and schools statewide.

Delaware’s broadband “backbone” features high capacity fiber-optic lines that run the length of the state from Wilmington to Georgetown, and from Seaford to Lewes, improving internet reliability for consumers and increasing internet access speeds by as much as 10 times since 2009.

Thanks in large part to these efforts, Delaware continuously ranks at, or near, the top of broadband speed rankings across the nation. Yet, we still face the same challenges as many other states when it comes to access and affordability, especially in our rural areas where broadband deserts still exist.

Over the next two years, we will directly confront this issue, eliminate those deserts, and make high-speed internet a reality for all Delawareans. That will help all Delawareans connect and compete in a new economy, and improve economic opportunity across our state.

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