House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and 6th District Senator Ernie Lopez were the guest speakers at this month's membership luncheon meeting of the Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber of Commerce at Kings Creek Country Club. They both described how even though they belong to different political parties, they get along with each other, and like working together for their constituents. They say that's important because in Delaware, at the end of the day, you have to reach across the aisle in order to get things done.
Making the Route 1 corridor safer was one of the topics that got a lot of discussion between the legislators and Chamber members. Lopez and Schwartzkopf both say they oppose DelDOT's plans to build 13 ADA-compliant crosswalks along Route 1 between Five Points in Lewes and The Forgotten Mile in Rehoboth, south of the bridge over the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal because they'll only make the traffic backups, especially in the summer, worse. Schwartzkopf says currently, the only ADA-compliant crosswalk along that stretch of Route 1 is at Midway, at the light near the Pelican Square Shopping Center and the movie theater. He says that crosswalk already causes backups during peak traffic times, and installing 13 more of those would be very bad for businesses in the resort area because people will get tired of sitting in traffic, and will turn around, go home, and not come back again. As members of the Route 1 Corridor Task Force, Schwartzkopf and Lopez say they want to keep their options open for other ideas, such as crosswalks between traffic lights, where people want to cross, such as at the Tanger Outlets. Other possibilities include multi-use paths, and pedestrian overpasses.
Schwartzkopf described how in his first year as Speaker of the House, he had little control over the issues of the day that came up, such as gun control, same-sex marriage, and the death penalty. He says those issues were driven by society and the voters of Delaware. This week, the Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau requested a 40 percent increase in the worker's compensation insurance rates. Lopez says lawmakers in both chambers, on both sides of the aisle and even the Markell Administration are frustrated by another request for a sharp increase in worker's comp rates. They say they'll do everything they can to fight that increase and minimize its impact on businesses. Schwartzkopf explained that when people are hurting the most, during tough economic times, that's when they need government the most. Both he and Lopez exclaimed how the Cape Region has become the economic driver for Delaware.
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