Gov. Pete Ricketts says he is not in favor of increasing the gas tax.
Many states are poised to take advantage of a drop in gas prices by increasing the state’s take.
Ricketts says the state needs to operate on what it has.
“I want to work with the money that we have available right now in the Department of Roads,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate WNAX. “A few years ago, we passed LB 84, thanks to Sen. Deb Fischer, which budgets a quarter cent of the sales tax to roads funding. I think that’s an adult way to try and budget for our roads funding and this is one of the reasons why we want to do a national job search to bring in somebody who can help us think differently about how we do operations, how we do financing, how we work with the federal government.”
Ricketts has announced a national search for a permanent director to lead the Nebraska Department of Roads. State Engineer Randy Peter serves as acting director.
Ricketts says the new director will be faced with many challenges, including how to help cities and counties improve roads and bridges.
Ricketts says he has fielded numerous complaints from county officials about bridges.
“Certainly that’s one of the issues we want to work with at the Department of Roads with the counties,” according to Ricketts, “Are there things we can do to be more creative in writing the specifications for those bridges that will allow counties to stretch their dollars farther?”
Ricketts has concluded national searches to fill the top positions for Corrections, Economic Development, and Health and Human Services.
The Greater Omaha Chamber Foundation, with statewide financial support, has hired Ted Ford Webb of Ford Webb Associates of Concern, MA to assist in the search. The Ricketts Administration has used Webb before.
Finalists identified by the firm will be forwarded to Governor Ricketts and his Chief of Staff, Matt Miltenberger, for interviews.
Donors who contribute to the search process will be disclosed after the conclusion of the search, according to the governor’s office.
Jerry Oster, WNAX, contributed to this story.