Obama talks infrastructure in Wilmington with I-495 bridge repairs as backdrop

 (NewsWorks Photo, file)

(NewsWorks Photo, file)

President Barack Obama will stop in Wilmington Thursday, using the backdrop of repair work on the I-495 bridge to call for increased private-sector investment in national infrastructure.

Costs to repair the tilting I-495 bridge support beams are expected to run into the tens of millions of dollars after complaints about the problem were not addressed for weeks.

“They didn’t get ignored, they just unfortunately didn’t get to the right people at DelDOT,” said Melissa Nann Burke, transportation reporter for the News Journal.

The Delaware Department of Transportation has since reformed the way it handles complaints, but the whole episode has renewed the spotlight on the country’s aging infrastructure.

“One of the frequent ways that road construction projects have worked through the private sector is tolling,” Burke said.

But the president could also reform the permitting process and “streamline that, make it more efficient, make it go more quickly,” Burke said.

The president is expected to speak just after 2 p.m. Thursday.

To hear WHYY Morning Edition host Jennifer Lynn’s conversation with News Journal transportation reporter Melissa Nann Burke, click the audio above.

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