Ardeshir Faghri, director of UD's Delaware Center for Transportation, speaks at the forum.

Transportation topic

Forum highlights issues facing state and regional transportation systems

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2:20 p.m., Nov. 26, 2013--The Delaware Center for Transportation (DCT) and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) co-hosted a Transportation Infrastructure Forum at the University of Delaware’s John M. Clayton Hall in Newark on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

The event focused on identifying crucial issues facing state and regional transportation systems, particularly those that impact travel efficiency, economy and employment, safety, environment, energy, sustainability and health.

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“Without a first class transportation system, no community, no state, no nation can possibly have a first class economy,” said Gov. Jack Markell during the day’s opening remarks.

Transportation gives people access – to resources, services, jobs and family. For businesses considering relocating to Delaware, Markell said, transportation is critical to their ability to move goods and in the short term, infrastructure projects create jobs.

UD President Patrick Harker, a civil engineer, called DCT a “great partnership with DelDOT that combines research, training and public service – all vital to addressing transportation-related issues within the state and the region.”

“And I know we have deep enough expertise – right here in this room – to help solve increasingly urgent infrastructure problems nationally … even globally,” Harker said.

State Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt reported that 97 percent of Delaware bridges and 94 percent of its pavements are in good repair but underscored the need for continued focus on transportation needs.

“There is a chance that the Highway Trust Fund will be insolvent in the next year,” Bhatt said. “If the trust fund is insolvent at the federal level, the money isn’t there and [planned] projects can’t go.”

Professionals and stakeholders in attendance had the opportunity to voice concerns and discuss solutions to these complex problems during topical workshops. 

They also heard from UD professors Ajay Prasad and Willett Kempton, who shared their groundbreaking work in fuel cell fleets and grid-integrated vehicles.

DCT, which is housed in UD’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the research and education arm of DelDOT.

Article by Karen B. Roberts

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