Gov. Pillen Congratulates Beatrice, NDOT on Securing Federal Grant to Make Transformative Downtown Improvements


Laura Strimple, (402) 580-9495

Allan Urlis, (531) 510-8529 

Jeni Campana, NDOT, (402) 560-9764



Gov. Pillen Congratulates Beatrice, NDOT on Securing Federal Grant to Make Transformative Downtown Improvements


LINCOLN, NE – Today, Governor Jim Pillen congratulated the City of Beatrice on the recent federal grant award of $21,389,417 from the RAISE program to fund the Court Street Access and Safety Transformation (CAST) Initiative project aimed at redirecting US-136 and improving the downtown area. The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) supported the grant application and will aid in the delivery of the project.


The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) discretionary grant program is highly competitive and supports projects prioritizing safety, economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability, and quality of life. The CAST proposal detailed the City’s commitment to enhancing its infrastructure while fostering a thriving downtown district and is consistent with the USDOT’s Vision Zero goal.


“I want to congratulate the City of Beatrice on securing $21 million in federal funds to improve mobility and enhance the downtown area,” said Gov. Pillen. “I’m proud that Beatrice leaned into this opportunity and appreciate NDOT’s efforts to support them in making the project a reality. It’s a big win for Nebraska.”


The CAST initiative will transform the Court Street corridor to enhance the business community by supporting existing efforts and attracting additional economic growth in the downtown area.  The project's centerpiece is the redirection of US-136, a major thoroughfare that currently divides the downtown area. By rerouting the highway, Beatrice aims to create a more people-focused environment, encouraging residents and visitors to explore local businesses and restaurants and increase residential investment. 


The $21 million grant will be utilized to cover the costs associated with redesigning and reconstructing the road, including adding pedestrian and cyclist safety features.


“The NDOT understands the time investment necessary to accomplish large and transformative projects,” said NDOT Director Vicki Kramer. “The planning and effort the City of Beatrice has done to develop the CAST Initiative should be commended.  NDOT’s Local Assistance Division looks forward to continued support of the project and to our local governments as they continue to compete for federal discretionary funding.” 


In addition to the City of Beatrice, Lincoln County also received a $750,000 grant from the RAISE program for the study of alternative routes for freight traffic along with improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists’ infrastructure. The study effort will also support the ongoing development of the Nebraska International Port of the Plains, which is being developed in Lincoln County. The inland port is set to serve as a hub for multi-modal transportation and the distribution of goods.


The Nebraska International Port of the Plains was created through the Municipal Inland Port Authority Act. This 2023 ACT directed the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to designate no more than seven inland port districts statewide. Current inland port designations exist in Fremont, Bellevue, Omaha and North Platte.