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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Accelerating Roads Construction

 

By Governor Pete Ricketts

June 22, 2016

 

The Governor’s official photo is available here.

 

Whether you’re taking your children to school, driving to work, or moving equipment for your farm or ranch, infrastructure helps to connect Nebraskans to their communities and one another.  Our quality of life and top industries depend on a 21st-century infrastructure.

 

Over the course of the first year and a half of my administration, I have prioritized roads because they are one of the key ways we support the efforts of farmers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and all Nebraskans who are working to grow our state.  Last summer, the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) and I announced the state would return additional roads funding to local governments through the state’s federal funds swap program.  This session, we successfully worked with the Legislature to pass the Transportation Innovation Act, which aims to accelerate construction of the state’s expressway system, help facilitate bridge repair, and support infrastructure projects tied to economic development goals.

 

In the last couple weeks, the Nebraska Department of Roads and I highlighted major updates to the state’s roads standards recently approved by my office and the Nebraska Board of Public Roads Classifications and Standards (NBCS).  This revision modernizes Nebraska’s requirements for new construction and preservation of state highways, county roads, and municipal streets in Nebraska. 

 

The revisions do three things: First, they give counties and municipalities access to the Resurfacing, Restoration, and Rehabilitation Standards, also known as the “3R Standards.”  Second, it completes comprehensive updates to the minimum design standards (MDS) for all public roadways in Nebraska.  Third, the changes eliminate outdated MDS and makes other technical and stylistic changes.  These updates, for example, will allow counties to replace existing bridge pilings with pilings of the same design, rather than investing in a new bridge built under new construction design standards.  Previously, our standards would have forced local governments to make significant improvements in addition to making simple repairs to infrastructure.

 

The common sense changes made in this update not only modernize our state’s roads and bridge standards, but will also help your hard-earned taxpayer dollars go further as state and local government partner together to build the 21st-century infrastructure Nebraska needs to continue to grow.

 

While these changes may seem technical in nature, they are significant for the taxpayer because they help cut red tape and roadblocks for local governments seeking to maximize their roads improvement budgets.  These standards will encourage local governments to address infrastructure needs in a more timely manner by allowing them to fix targeted issues, and they will help your elected officials stretch your tax dollars further. 

 

In the coming years, my administration will continue to look for new ways to help local governments efficiently and effectively create the 21st-century infrastructure Nebraskans need to live their lives, grow their business, and build their communities.  This initiative, like many others, took a lot of collaboration from many stakeholders over the course of three years, and it would not have been possible without the leadership and commitment of the Nebraska Board of Public Roads Classifications and Standards.  As we continue to work to identify new ways to cut red tape, I hope that you will offer your own suggestions.  If you have ideas, please call my office at 402-471-2244 or email at pete.ricketts@nebraska.gov.  I look forward to hearing from you!

 

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