Why You Should Avoid Delaware

If you travel through Delaware to get from New Jersey to Maryland, or vice versa, it will take 240% more time per mile and cost 600% more per mile than in other states.  These are pretty good reasons to avoid Delaware.

It is 20 miles from the Maryland border to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. The bridge is 2 miles in length, bringing the total to 22 miles.  There are two $4 tolls; $8/22 miles = $0.36 per mile.  The national average is $0.06 per mile, so Delaware charges 6x the national average.

Delaware also incurs enormous delays, for example, 30 minutes through the Delaware Memorial Bridge tollbooth a few days ago.  This amounts to 1.4 minutes delay per mile for the 22 miles.  Assuming a typical 1-minute per mile speed (i.e., 60 mph), Delaware requires 2.4 min per mile (i.e., 25 mph).

If your whole trip from Washington, DC to New York City were in Delaware, the 3-hour drive would take 7.2 hours; the tolls for the 226 miles would be $81. So we get 2.4x in time and 6x in costs.  All in all, good reasons to avoid Delaware. But why does this happen?

Delaware has less than 1 million residents, so they receive relatively little Federal funding.  They make it up by milking in-transit drivers on Interstate 95 and the Delaware Memorial Bridge.  As more than half of the vehicles on Delaware’s stretch of I-95 and the bridge are from out of state, Delaware voters seem comfortable with this scheme.

As a result, tolls, state gas taxes, and fees for licenses and registrations covered 79 cents out of every dollar Delaware spent on roads in 2011, the latest year for which data are available. That is far more than the national average of slightly more than 50 cents per dollar.  Delaware is top nationally in terms of this percentage.  In-transit drivers subsidize the state.

Lest you think I am being too tough on Delaware, here are two pieces available on the web. “14 Reasons Why You Should Never, Ever Move To Delaware” and “10 Struggles Everyone In Delaware Can Relate To.”  There is also the controversy associated with the Mason-Dixon Line and the wedge between Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Enough said.

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