Representative David Ennis told Delaforum that all that is
required is for transportation people to set aside some
hide-bound thinking at take a serious look at some existing
technology with proven results.
of telling us it isn't going to work, they should give it a fair
shot. ... The trouble is that DelDOT doesn't have the mindset to
begin thinking outside the box," he said.
idea is to link a monorail arcing across Brandywine and
Christiana Hundreds to a
light-rail operation along the existing freight railroad
right-of-way serving at least Kent and possibly Sussex
County communities. Meanwhile, he would re-establish
waterborne transit using high-speed passenger ferries
plying between Philadelphia, Fox Point, Dover (by way of
a monorail from Port Mahan) and Lewes.
said he is "angry and disappointed" that
officialdom and others "keep dismissing [the
proposal] as something that's visionary and
recent example of that was reaction to a presentation he
made to the public advisory group considering what to do
about expanding the Tyler McConnell Bridge. Immediately
after he spoke, a Delaware
of Transportation consultant referred blithely to the idea as
something that might be considered some time in the indefinite
something that can be done right now. The first [planning and
design] phase could be accomplished by 2005 and we could see
something in place during the 2005-to-2010 time frame," he
Seattle, Wash., authorized a study leading to a monorail system
in a referendum held during last year's general election. Las
Vegas, Nev., and Indianapolis, Ind., are going to building
privately-financed monorails. Morgantown, W.Va., has one in
place. Ennis noted that other communities, both in this country
and Europe, consider monorail transportation an efficient and
environmentally acceptable way to move people from place to
proven that, whenever you build more [highway] lanes they just
fill us with cars. Nobody ends up going any faster and all we do
is create more smog," he said.
monorail on a new Tyler McConnell Bridge, for instance, would
make it practical to have it as a three-lane span instead of
four, thereby at least theoretically cutting motorized traffic
using the crossing by about 25%.
said the 'ozone crisis' that New Castle County and other
Northeast Corridor locales face should provide the impetus for
seeking not just more buses and carpools but an exponential leap
in conveying people in blocs rather and individually.
the Clean Air Act [requirements] we face and the threat that
holds, I think the momentum is building," he said. Because
it has the biggest stake in avoiding a situation that would
hamper not only growth but current operations, he said the
business community is likely to provide the best ally in
furthering his proposal. It also ties in with state and county
economic development efforts.
I want is a full public discussion. I want the public to tell us
what they want," he said.
basis for that, Ennis, state Senator Harris McDowell,
Representative Nancy Wagner and Roy Klein, a Dover-area
transportation activist, have issued what they call a 'talking
document' on the issue.
acknowledging that constructing a monorail and adapting the
existing railroad corridor to a transit system would not be
cheap, Ennis maintained that it would have a benefit-to-cost
ratio comparable, if not better than, more traditional
phase, in particular, could be accomplished for an amount
actually less than is being spent on the McConnell Bridge issue,
when consultant fees, full-color booklets, several meetings and
committee meals are included, he said.
spending who knows how much deciding something that, for the
most part, is already decided. Jakes Associates is willing to
come here and share what they know for just expenses," he
said. Jakes is a consulting firm involved with Indianapolis and
Las Vegas projects.