What Did Delaware Ever Do To Him?

The New Republic‘s Jonathan Chait doesn’t like Delaware:

Last night I drove home from northern New Jersey to Washington and it went smoothly enough except that, as customarily happens on such journeys, we hit a wall of traffic halfway through. What was the cause of it? Delaware. Yes, Delaware, that sinkhole of inequity and greed. Delaware, that backward, corrupt parasite state. Delaware, the great underappreciated scandal of modern American life.

Those of us who do not live in Delaware are robbed blind by those who do in numerous ways. Probably the most consequential of those is its lax corporate governance laws, which are designed to attract as many businesses as possible to formally incorporate in that fetid state, shareholder interests be damned. But the most visible is surely its usurious turnpike. On a per mile basis, Delaware charges drivers a rate four times higher than its neighbors to pass through its otherwise inconsequential little strip of pavement. Worse still, its tollbooths are small and inefficient. So even if you have E-Z pass, you will be backed up for miles on end, a cost that for most drivers is far dearer than even the inflated toll fee.

A person who lives in Washington complaining about traffic in Delaware? Ever hear of a little monstrosity called the Beltway?


  1. #1 The Science Pundit
    December 27, 2006

    Hey! I used to live in Delaware! Although I was always uncomfortable with Delaware’s corporate tax policy. “Hey come incorporate here and pay less taxes no matter where you actually do business.” (But one of the benefits was the 0% sale’s tax. Every State should be that way!)

    Which brings me to Presidential candidate Biden. I always liked him and voted for him everytime he was up for election. But I’m going to have a lot of trouble supporting him in the primaries. His vote on that awful bankruptcy bill tells me that he’s completely at the beckoning of his MBNA overlords.

    As for the toll-jam: he’s right about the gridlock, but I commute either by bicycle or train, so I could care less about his traffic tribulations. As a matter of fact, as I do the crossword or take a nap on the train, I laugh at those poor souls stuck on the “freeway.” HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

  2. #2 Kevin W. Parker
    December 27, 2006

    I tend to agree with Chait. He doesn’t even mention that the massive traffic jams caused in the days before EZPass when Delaware changed its tolls from $1 to $1.25 as drivers had to fumble over a bill and a coin. Not sure what the situation is now, but at one point Maryland was charging the same price as Delaware for five times as much road and had the additional courtesy of charging tolls only in one direction.

    As for the Beltway, that is one monstrosity that can’t be blamed on the Washington, DC, city government – the entire Beltway is outside the city!

  3. #3 quitter
    December 28, 2006

    Delaware is a parasite, a louse on our nation. Everything is worse in every other state because of Delaware. No joke.

    The reason corporations incorporate there as the Pundit alluded, was because of tax advantages, but also Delaware give them the biggest breaks in every other facet possible. They won the infamous “race to the bottom” in terms of regulating corporate responsibility and consumer protection. Besides charging more per mile for their tiny stretch of 95 (which they lobbied effectively to go out of its way and stretch through their state rather than bypassing them entirely), they are a undisputed financial parasite because of their purposeful unwillingness to regulate corporate responsibility.

    Death to Delaware.

  4. #4 mark
    December 28, 2006

    Chait may not be aware of this, but most states have areas of traffic bottlenecks. Interstate traffic in Maryland has gotten very very much worse than it was when I began traveling one into work. I’ve spent hours trying to get around DC, and after I arrived, parking was a problem.
    Chait should not issue a condemnation of traffic in Delaware until after he has driven around places like Stockley or Whitesville, and noted the contrast with driving around DC.

  5. #5 SLC
    December 28, 2006

    Re Rosenhouse driving on the Beltway.

    If Mr. Rosenhouse thinks the Beltway is bad, he should try driving on I66 inbound outside the Beltway some weekday morning. It rivals the infamous Long Island Expressway as the worlds longest parking lot.

  6. #6 Fred
    December 28, 2006

    Oh you East Coast babies.

    Traffic. Los Angeles. ’nuff said.

  7. #7 DEQ
    December 28, 2006

    Chait is correct re: I-95. I make the drive from DC to NJ and back regularly, and I find the traffic in Delaware far worse than the Beltway even during rush hour. I am pretty sure that no one actually lives in Delaware. Rather the state is just the site of a permanent traffic jam.

  8. #8 MJ Memphis
    December 28, 2006

    Of course, my wife would say: “Oh you American babies. Worst traffic jams in the world. Bangkok. ‘Nuff said.”

  9. #9 Roadtripper
    December 28, 2006

    I used to commute from DC to NY (and back!) pretty much every week. NY traffic was bad, NJ traffic was bad, DC traffic was bad, Baltimore traffic was bad too. Who cares about Delaware? I didn’t notice that it was any worse than the rest of the east coast.

    Nowadays, it’s so bad that I-95 just plain sucks, from Florida all the way to New England. That goes for most of the rest of “the East” as well. Once in a while I go back to the Midwest and surprise! I can drive like a civilized human being. (80mph, no braking for hours) Too bad I can’t move back out there….

  10. #10 The Science Pundit
    December 28, 2006

    DEQ said: “I am pretty sure that no one actually lives in Delaware. Rather the state is just the site of a permanent traffic jam.”

    You couldn’t be more mistaken. There are plenty of people living in Delaware. They are divided into two classes: those that live north of the C&D canal (separating the Chesapeake and Delaware bays), and those that live south of the canal.

    Everyone in upper Delaware works for either MBNA bank or DuPont chemicals. Everyone in “slower Delaware” participates in the Pumpkin Chunkin.

  11. #11 Jason Rosenhouse
    December 28, 2006


    Really? That seems totally different from my experience. I frequently drive from Western Virginia to New Jersey. This involves taking I-66, to I-495, to I-95. 495 is nearly always a nightmare. 95 is usually backed up too, at least until you get clear of Baltimore. (Getting through the Fort McHenry tunnel always feels like a major accomplishment). But in Delaware I usually coast, at least until I get near the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

    Of course, that might be because considering all the time I’ve wasten on 495 and 95, it’s usually pretty late in the day when I get to Delaware.


    I can believe it. I’ve often had problems on I-66 West, all the way down to Exit 43 (which is the turn-off to Charlottesville, among other things). Miserable.

    You know, a while back I interviewed for a job at The University of Delaware. At the time I was bummed that I didn’t get it. You all are making me think it was all for the best!

  12. #12 SLC
    December 29, 2006

    I haven’t been on the stretch between Route 28 and the exit to Route 29 to Charlottesville for a while but I understand that it has now been widened to 8 lanes.

  13. #13 Michael Ralston
    December 29, 2006

    I’m at UDel myself right now; I honestly have to say the traffic’s no worse there than it is up in PA where my parents live.

    Of course, the roads are about three times as wide, so “no worse” still means three times as many cars …

New comments have been disabled.