Why A Toll Road Representative Atkins?


For several days now, I had been having a discussion with Democrat, Delaware state Representative John Atkins, about his idea (his words, not mine), for a toll road on Rt. 404 west of Bridgeville.

The conversation was mostly on his Facebook page, though it did spill over to other places as well. And honestly, to call it a conversation is being generous, since Mr. Atkins seemed unable to defend in the most basic form, his idea(his words, not mine).

It all began when he posed the question of what would people prefer, a ten-cent gasoline tax increase, or creating a toll road on Rt. 404. He later called the toll road an alternative to the tax increase. That was until, myself and others, pointed out that there was no way a toll road could be completed in time to offset the Governor’s proposed tax increase for this budget year.

This is when it turned ugly and Mr. Atkins decided to play political hide and seek, and stopped answering direct questions about his idea(his words, not mine).

So in the absence of answers from Mr. Atkins, I decided to try to figure out why a self titled conservative would be in favor of not only creating a road tax, but also creating a huge government project, along with confiscating who knows how many privately owned acres to build this magical toll road that would solve all of Delaware’s revenue problems.

In thinking about this I came to the conclusion that I should follow the money, as with any politician. So I started looking at Mr. Atkins financial reports. And what do you think I found?

I found that in the top sectors that contributed to Mr. Atkins in 2012 you had;

#2, Labor

  #3, Lawyers & Lobbyists

   #4, Finance, Insurance & Real Estate

   #7, Transportation

   #11, Construction

When you start to break that down you see that he also receives a lot of donations from trade unions.

Some of his donors include;

 Carpenters of Philadelphia and Vicinity  

   Carpenters and Joiners Local 2012

   Electrical Workers 313

Then there is,

Associated Builders and Contractors

Which seems to be a non-union, union.

Another donor happens to be the law firm of Cozen O’Connor PC, based in Center City Philadelphia, and one of its specialties is, wait for it, labor and employment cases.

So what do we see so far?

Well we have a legislator who likes to tell everyone how conservative he is, (reminds me of someone else who used to run around talking about how conservative they were, haven’t heard from them lately though), who seems to accept a lot of money from trade unions and there affiliates.

So how does this tie into a toll road you may be asking. Well we have electricians and carpenters, both who just might find some union work on a major road construction project. You also have a law firm that handles labor negotiations. You have finance and real-estate groups that would stand to profit from land deals and maybe relocations in the area.

Another interesting donor is Murphy Marine Services Inc.. This one almost slipped past me, I thought it was just some small time marina somewhere in Sussex.

However Murphy Marine Services Inc. is actually the largest stevedoring company operating out of the Port of Wilmington. Now is it possible that if the major truck route from Maryland into Sussex, that being Rt. 404, were to become a toll road, that any shipping might be shifted to the Port of Wilmington and sent down Rt. 1?

It also seems as though Mr. Atkins has no problem taking donations from registered lobbyist, one in particular, Judson Bennett.

Now I also looked at Mr. Atkins voting record. Mr. Atkins voted yea on SB 21, this was  a bill to appoint labor union representatives to the state benefits committee. Another wink, wink to labor unions one might ask.

And while we are on his voting record and whether or not he can call himself a conservative or not, let us look at a couple of other votes cast by Mr. Atkins.

He voted yea to reinstate the Delaware estate tax.

He voted yea to raise the liquor licensing fee, another name for a tax.

He voted yes to raise the cigarette tax.

He also voted yes to re-establish the so-called sports lottery, or in other words, sports betting.

Something else I noticed about Mr. Atkins voting habits, is that he will vote for the individual tax increases and then vote no on the budget.

This is nothing more than playing both sides, he votes with his Democrat party on the increases, and gets to look good to Democrat voters, and then votes no on the budget, and tries to look good to conservative voters.

I think it may be time for the voters in Mr. Aitkin’s district to take a good hard look at who he actually is as a legislator. Oh yes, he votes conservatively on gun issues, and right to life issues, and he voted against gay marriage, he votes correctly on all the hot button emotional issues for conservatives. But when it comes to raising taxes, well his record deserves a closer look.

All financial numbers came from http://www.followthemoney.org/index.phtml

And voting records came from  http://votesmart.org/


8 Comments on "Why A Toll Road Representative Atkins?"

  1. Rick says:

    Maryland will probably widen 404 from 50 to the Denton bypass (some parts have already been widened). Then, they may make it a toll road- after all, tourists using it are heading to the Delaware shore. This may also induce some people to just stay on 50 and go to O.C.

  2. Frank Knotts says:

    True Rick.

  3. Anon says:

    One quick glance at the Delaware General Assembly website and you would have know that SB 21 passed the House 41-0. I guess Atkins has the whole General Assembly bamboozled into believing your conspiracy theory. Most professional bloggers know that Deldot has its own real estate division if land was ever to be purchased. I don’t read this blog much, but you missed your calling, Dick Tracey.

  4. Frank Knotts says:

    Anon who doesn’t read this blog much, the point is that Mr. Atkins likes to tout his conservative creds, yet his voting record says differently, in my view. As for Del Dot purchasing land? Well that wouldn’t go into effect unless a project was proposed first would it? Or are you trying to make us believe that no one profits from these types of big government projects? Again a so called conservative such as Mr. Atkins proposing such a large tax payer’s expense deserves questioning in my view.
    I also notice you ignored his votes to raise taxes and fees, i.e. taxes.

  5. Reader says:

    I agree with Atkins. Let the tourists pay their fair share. Many people I’ve talked to also agree.

  6. Glenn Thomas says:

    I was part of the Facebook conversation. I think John shows his immaturity with his point that we pay to go across the bay or north on Rt. 1 so we should charge anyone not from Sussex County to come here. That in itself is not only immature but it is hypocritical. We invite, ask, lure, entice and beg these people to come here and spend their vacations and their money in Sussex County. Hon does not seem to understand these people already contribute large amounts to our economy already. Where would Sussex County be if they did not come? He fails to understand too that the toll he pays to cross either of the bay bridges actually save him money as opposed to the alternative of going around or riding a ferry. Look at the fares on the Cape May Lewes Ferry.

    John also asked for other ideas but it appeared to me that when another idea was presented he didn’t want to discus it. I proposed an across the board cut in spending. He attacked me on that. It was suggested we legalize marijuana but he wouldn’t discus that. Personally I am against that but am smart enough to know it is inevitable and just a matter of time so why not now rather than later? Regardless of whether we do or not Maryland eventually will and since you are never more than a short drive to the Maryland line from anywhere in Delaware the revenue that could be ours will go there. Instead of waiting five or ten years to do the inevitable and losing all the revenue that could generate, why not do it now? I also suggested in response to a private message he sent me, we raise the accommodations tax. His response was the Realtors go through the roof every time that is brought up. I guess they carry more weight or contribute more than we do. That is enough for now. I’ll respond to any further comments later.

  7. Frank Knotts says:

    Glenn, John receives donations from the Delaware Realtors Association, just saying.

  8. Rick says:

    We need to remember that Atkins knows that as long as the Socialist-Democrats run the show, cutting spending is off the table. Hence, he’s attempting to find the most painless way of generating new revenue. That’s the problem with big government run amok- there’s never enough money, and it will never, ever stop until they run everything.

    “There’s still so much to be done…”

Got something to say? Go for it!