Delaware DOT faces worker shortage

News Delaware State News February 25, 2005
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The Delaware Department of Transportation is having a hard time keeping up with the state's rapid growth

The Delaware Department of Transportation is having a hard time keeping up with the state's rapid growth. There just hasn't been a whole lot of hiring, according to Secretary of Transportation Nathan Hayward III.


Hayward said about 12% of DelDOT's 2,552 positions are vacant. The agency has been depending on more outside consultants, but that solution could add to the time it takes to complete road-building projects.


DelDOT's last hiring frenzy came in the 1970s and 1980s, but those workers are now beginning to retire.


"We are not very far away from a point where if we haven't replaced these people, we will be in very, very serious trouble," Hayward told the Delaware State News. "We are losing good people and we are not replacing them."


The high-paying private sector appears to be attracting fresh college graduates, leaving DelDOT no choice but to hire consultants. In FY 2004, DelDOT paid outside help $75 million.


In the meantime the demand for road construction has increased over the last 10 years. The agency's project budget increased from $300 million in FY 1996 to $450 million in FY 2004.


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