Nebraskans Hail Gov. Ricketts’ Transportation Initiative as "Historic"
Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970
Eric Maher, 402-471-1974
The Transportation Innovation Act accelerates expressway construction and bridge repair.
LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB960, also known as the Transportation Innovation Act (TIA), at a signing ceremony where he was joined by numerous Nebraskans who helped build support for the initiative over the past several months. The TIA targets $450 million towards accelerated expressway construction, county bridge repairs, and investments in infrastructure projects which will help Grow Nebraska. This legislation was one of the Governor’s top priorities for the 2016 legislative session, and was passed with overwhelming support from the Legislature.
The Transportation Innovation Act was developed by the Governor’s Office in conjunction with the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) and the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, which held hearings on potential infrastructure proposals during the interim last summer and fall.
“Across Nebraska, the Transportation Innovation Act will help to build the infrastructure that Nebraskans use to see their families, drive to work, and get to school every day,” said Governor Ricketts. “Agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism, our state’s three largest industries, depend on a 21st-century infrastructure to grow and expand. Accelerating work on our expressway systems and investing in projects that help grow and expand businesses, will help kick-start economic growth in these areas.
“I appreciate the work and support of the numerous legislative leaders and Nebraskans who worked on this legislation from concept to final passage and enactment. These investments will fund key infrastructure priorities for Nebraska for years to come.”
The Transportation Innovation Act includes $450 million in targeted infrastructure funding in three key areas:
- Accelerated completion of Nebraska’s expressway construction
- Repairs to bridges maintained by county governments
- Projects that connect new and expanding businesses to our infrastructure system
Additionally, the legislation creates a new design-build process, which will allow the state’s largest and most complex projects to be completed 2-4 years more quickly.
“The cutting-edge concepts included in the Transportation Innovation Act will help Nebraska build on its reputation as a national leader in roads,” said NDOR Director Kyle Schneweis. “The infrastructure bank fund in this bill targets investment in key infrastructure priorities with the help of the new design-build process, which will cut red tape and help accelerate our state’s most complex infrastructure projects.”
LB960 was introduced at the request of the Governor by Transportation & Telecommunications Committee Chairman Jim Smith of Papillion and was prioritized by Senator Lydia Brasch of Bancroft.
“Thank you to the countless organizations and individuals who helped make the Transportation Innovation Act a reality for Nebraskans,” said Chairman Smith. “Last summer, our committee traveled the state to hear from Nebraskans, and their input and insights were an important part of making LB960 successful. It has truly been a pleasure working with Governor Ricketts and the entire Legislature to pass this remarkable initiative.”
“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Ricketts, Nebraska will finally see significant progress towards completion of our state’s expressway system,” said Senator Brasch. “I designated this legislation as my priority for the session because infrastructure funding is one of the top concerns I hear. This bill builds on the work of Senator Deb Fischer’s Build Nebraska Act, and together they will provide the resources Nebraska needs to work through our infrastructure priorities for years to come.
Numerous associations and organizations endorsed the Transportation Innovation Act and worked tirelessly to ensure its passage in this legislative session. These groups include the League of Nebraska Municipalities, Nebraska Association of County Officials, 4 Lanes 4 Nebraska, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska State Chamber, and Nebraska Cattlemen among countless others.
“This is a historic moment for our state, and it would not have happened without the vision and leadership of Governor Ricketts,” said Marlene Johnson, Mayor of West Point and Past President of the League of Nebraska Municipalities. “The Transportation Innovation Act is the most important infrastructure initiative our state has passed since the creation of our expressway system in the 1980s. This is a major achievement and Nebraskans should be proud of the Governor and Legislature.”
“Through the Transportation Innovation Act, the Governor has demonstrated a landmark commitment to assisting county governments with the momentous task of repairing our bridges,” said Larry Dix, Executive Director of the Nebraska Association of County Officials. “With the funding for county bridges included in this bill, local governments across Nebraska can begin to work through a backlog of projects, and improve the integrity of the bridges Nebraska’s families, farmers, businesses, schools, and communities depend on every day.”
“Thank you to Governor Ricketts and Senator Jim Smith for championing the Transportation Innovation Act,” said Dirk Petersen, 4 Lanes 4 Nebraska Board Member and incoming Nebraska State Chamber President. “Accelerating expressway construction is critical to helping our entire state grow and vital for Nebraska’s businesses and families. This bill is a big win for all of Nebraska, and I applaud the Governor and Legislature for their work.”
The Transportation Innovation Act funding begins later this year. NDOR will provide updates on the implementation of the TIA as funding comes online and the project selection occurs.