Governor Pillen Testifies in Support of LB 706
Laura Strimple, (402) 580-9495
John Gage, (531) 510-8529
LINCOLN, NE – Today, Governor Jim Pillen testified in support of LB 706, a bill that clears the way for the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) to exercise bonding authority to accelerate completion of highway capital improvement projects, identified in the Build Nebraska Act (BNA).
“I believe deeply that this is an important piece of legislation that will allow us to compete and grow Nebraska in an economically viable way,” said Governor Pillen. “As currently amended, LB 706 provides a pathway for the expansion and reconstruction of the state’s highway system and ensures necessary projects are planned and completed on a much faster timetable.”
Vicki Kramer, Director of NDOT told members of the Revenue and Finance Committee that funds from the BNA were instrumental in initiating construction of essential highway projects, notably US-275, US-30 and US-385. Bonding would provide the “financing tool” to accelerate the completion of such projects, resulting in maximum benefit to communities and the state.
With the amendment, LB 706 would authorize NDOT to issue highway bonds in an amount not to exceed $450 million in principle with $35 million in annual debt service for a period of not more than 19 years. It requires bonds be issued prior to June 30, 2029 and paid off no later than June 30, 2042. To ensure there is a stable revenue stream for the terms of the bonds, the bill would extend BNA funding until 2042. Currently, funding for the BNA will sunset in 2033.
During his testimony, Governor Pillen noted the bill would also address safety issues that exist for travelers on two-lane highways.
“It is a legitimate safety hazard, when you consider truck traffic, farm vehicles and the other types of heavy equipment that traverse those roadways. Improvements are necessary to make sure they are safe for everyone.”
That sentiment was echoed by Nebraska Chamber President Bryan Slone, who also testified in support of LB 706. “Our highways often are the lifeblood of our communities. We need quality roadways to ensure our goods are safely and efficiently transported from farm or manufacturer to market and that our kids and families can safely get to school and work.”