Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts continues to oppose LB 610, a bill that would increase the state’s gas taxes by six-cents a gallon. Governor Rickets says there are many other options. He says a national job search is underway to find someone to help us with the Dept. of Roads, how to construct them; compare per lane mile VS Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas. He adds that the state needs to be looking at tax relief and not at adding more taxes.
LB 610 was introduced by Papillion State Senator Jim Smith and he disagrees with Governor Ricketts’ opinion. He says the state is running out of options.
Senator Smith says, “Roughly one-tenth of our road miles and less than 25% of our bridges are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Roads – the state. The vast majority of our roads and bridges belong to the cities and the counties and they are becoming more and more dependent on property tax and wheel tax to satisfy the needs.”
Senator Smith says the new Department of Roads director would have no jurisdiction over city and county roads and that is where the greatest needs are. He says one in four of Nebraska’s rural bridges are obsolete or structurally deficient and those are problems that need addressed now.
Senator Smith says there are three options to the problem; borrow money, compete with general fund dollars or increase the gas tax.