Nebraska’s new County Bridge Match Program has its first batch of requests to repair aging structures.
The program is part of the Transportation Improvement Act signed into law this spring.
Mark Traynowicz, state bridge engineer with the Nebraska Department of Roads, says about 80 proposals came in from the counties.
“That includes about 150 bridges and a total cost of $22 million,” Traynowicz tells Nebraska Radio Network, “so we won’t be able to fund that much.”
The program allotted about $4 million for this first round of improvements, so they could start off slowly.
“As we go, we know that things will get modified and we’ll get better at what we do and the counties will get better at what they propose,” Traynowicz says.
The state covers 55 percent of the cost of construction with the counties responsible for the rest.
“The whole program is about counties doing things that are innovative and economical, really needs-driven,” he says. “The proposals range from a few tens of thousands of dollars to one is $1.2 million, so it (determining funding) depends on the ones that rise to the top and how much they are.”
A committee will now review all the proposals and award funding in January.
“We want counties that are doing really good things to be seen by other counties that aren’t quite there yet. We hope that the counties share these different innovations, these different techniques, so that by the end of this program, or a couple years into this program, we’ve got more counties doing the same things that are the right things to do.”
Money for the program comes from the 2015 increase in the gas tax.