Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed the major transportation bill of the legislative session.
“LB 960 really is a historic commitment to our state’s infrastructure,” Ricketts stated in a signing ceremony held in his Capitol office. “It is something that will help us provide the ability to accelerate our expressways and work on our roads, bridges, and even help companies expand in our state for years to come.”
The measure transfers $50 million from the state cash reserve fund and combines it with targeted transportation funding to create a $450 million infrastructure bank. The bank will be used in three ways: to accelerate construction of the state expressway system, to repair deteriorating county bridges, and to provide money for infrastructure projects needed for economic development.
LB 960 is formally called the Transportation Innovation Act.
Ricketts had proposed more money be transferred from cash reserves to create the infrastructure bank.
“Originally what I proposed with the Transportation Committee was $150 million over the course of eight years,” Ricketts said. “What we’ve ended up with is $50 million in the first year. So, this is something that gives us a great start on working on this and we can certainly decide how to go from here after we’ve got some experience with it.”
Bill sponsor, Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, says the money provided through the act will make a big difference for transportation in the state.
“This is a big, big day for Nebraska,” Smith stated during the news conference. “It’s a big day for commerce in our state, for creating the jobs, allowing the businesses to expand, giving a reason for businesses to locate in Nebraska, and providing infrastructure that is safe for our families to drive on.”
AUDIO: Gov. Pete Ricketts hold signing ceremony for LB 960. [18:30]