Markell Playing Favorites With Bridge Emergency?

bridge construction   It is being circulated, and reported in the Wilmington News Journal, that DelDot may have awarded the emergency repair contract for the leaning I-495 Bridge to an out-of-state contractor.

The report states that the red trucks of J.D. Eckman Inc. of Atglen, Pa. have been seen on the site of the I-495 Bridge, where it is believed that the illegal dumping of dirt that was allowed to happen, was the cause of the bridge’s pillars to lean four degrees out of vertical plumb, causing the closure of the major north south route.

Local contractors and some Legislators are upset that the Markell administration has chosen an out-of-state contractor instead of a company from within the state, and also that there was no bidding process. Delaware law does allow for emergency situations in which money can be allocated, and work assigned without a bidding process, though preference for local companies is supposed to be given.
However, this situation has now been stabilized and many believe that it is not unreasonable to think that the state could design a course of action for repairs, and take in bids in a timely manner.

One local contractor was quoted in the WNJ, “John O’Brien, a professional engineer and president of Helmark Steel, Falcon Steel and a steelwork consulting company, said he had tried without success to contact DelDOT officials about his company’s resources and ideas for stabilizing the bridge and removing it from the troubled supports.”   He continued by saying, “I could have started last week, if somebody would have answered the phone,” 

Other contractors expressed their displeasure with the decision to use a Pa. contractor instead of a Delaware company also,

“To put it simply, this project was handed to them. To say we are upset about Delaware contractors being excluded is an understatement,”  “The state Legislature laments the lack of growth of tax revenues from Delaware businesses, but actions like this are what keep Delaware businesses from increasing their sales and generating more taxable income.”   Peter F. Erony of the Middletown-based Mumford & Miller Concrete Inc. wrote in a letter to DelDOT and other leaders Friday.

These were but two of many others who felt that special treatment and preference was given to an outside contractor with no chance for a local company to receive what will likely be a healthy contract of state and federal funds.

So, is the Markell administration playing favorites with this emergency, that will carry a heavy toll for local businesses and commuters? Are they compounding their incompetence of allowing the illegal dumping to occur, for how long we don’t yet know, by awarding this possible job creator and revenue generator to a company out of Pa. and allowing the tax dollars to just flow through our state to our neighbors to the north?

Well on the surface it would appear so. There is a bill being worked as this is written that would force DelDot to award emergency no bid contracts to in state contractors only, unless there were no instate companies that had the expertise for the job required. That bill is expected to be brought to the House by Wednesday.

This is just another in a long line of the Markell administration’s incompetent handling of infrastructure decisions. And even so Gov. Markell is asking the tax payers of Delaware to allow him and the Democrats to raise the gasoline tax by ten cents in order to pay for road and bridge improvements.

Well Governor Markell, does that mean that if you get your gas tax increase we can expect most of that money to go to outside contractors? At prevailing wages of course. One can only hope that the loyal Democrat union workers of Delaware will remember this slap in the face come election day.


2 Comments on "Markell Playing Favorites With Bridge Emergency?"

  1. Rick says:

    He continued by saying, “I could have started last week, if somebody would have answered the phone,”

    That’s our DELDOT- incompetent.

  2. Rick says:

    Maybe DELDOT could hire Eric Cantor- the poster-boy for the GOP “establishment” was shown the door by a TEA Party supported candidate who spent $200k to Cantor’s $5M.

    This event, along with Cruz and Carson finishing one, two at the GOP Leadership Conference shows that the TEA Party- or more correctly, American traditionalists- are alive and well.


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