The Delaware Council on Transportation is encouraging the public to participate in the development of Delaware’s six-year Capital Transportation Program for fiscal 2020-25 by attending and testifying at a public hearing, the first of three, to be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Newark Free Library, 750 Library Ave.

The Newark public hearing is jointly sponsored by the Council on Transportation, the Delaware Department of Transportation and the Wilmington Area Planning Council.

The COT is a nine-member, bipartisan advisory panel appointed by the governor. It is made up of business and community leaders who have expressed interest in transportation subjects and have demonstrated expertise or experience that would help in evaluating relevant issues and programs.

The duties of council members include setting transportation priorities, adopting DelDOT’s Capital Transportation Program and approving highway realignments.

HB 1230, signed by then-Gov. Sherman Tribbitt on June 30, 1976, established the COT with their first meeting held on Feb. 1, 1977. Since then, the COT helped in the restoration of SEPTA commuter rail service to Delaware, the introduction of nightly DART bus service, the establishment of Rodney Square as the central bus hub for DART’S New Castle County service and the introduction of Sunday bus service, to name a few.

The Coalition to Restore Bus Service on Rodney Square will testify as to the importance of restoring Rodney Square as the main DART bus hub for New Castle County.

DART’s former bus stops on Rodney Square provided a secure and convenient transit hub for bus passengers to transfer between DART bus routes serving points throughout the city, county and the state and has been essential to the freedom of mobility for those who cannot afford a car such as single parents, students, senior citizens and disabled citizens.

The Rodney Square bus hub was an essential part of the economic fabric of Wilmington and New Castle County as workers, businesses and shoppers benefited from the ease and convenience of making bus connections in one central location and has seen ridership nearly double since the Rodney Square bus hub was established.

DART passengers, especially low income, minority residents, senior citizens, children and the disabled, face daily disruption as they endure walking city blocks to make their new bus connections since the dismantling of the Rodney Square bus hub on Dec. 17, 2017.