Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed into law LB 339, a bill creating the Nebraska Department of Transportation by combining the state’s Department of Aeronautics (NDOA) and Department of Roads (NDOR).
Under the new structure, Aeronautics will be a division of the Roads department’s existing hierarchy, with NDOR Director Kyle Schneweis serving as head of the new DOT and NDOA Director Ronnie Mitchell managing the Aeronautics division.
No positions have been singled out to be eliminated, according to a statement from the governor’s office, but two positions could be transferred from Aeronautics to Roads.
“This legislation will create efficiencies, which will allow us to put more money into runways and roads without sacrificing jobs,” Ricketts says. “Thanks to Aeronautics Director Ronnie Mitchell and Roads Director Kyle Schneweis for all their work on this merger. Also, thanks to Senator Curt Friesen for sponsoring and championing this bill in the legislature.”
State Sen. Curt Friesen, who introduced the bill, said merging the agencies into one is an indication that “all forms of transportation” are vital for Nebraska’s economic development. “In rural and urban areas, we depend on good safe roads and strong competitive air service for growing our economy,” he says.
“We look forward to the opportunities this partnership provides to streamline services,” Schneweis says. “This initiative supports the state’s commitment to more efficient and effective, customer service focused government. A united agency will help Nebraska take a more strategic, long-term view of our state’s transportation needs.”
Ricketts also signed LB 271 which authorizes the DOT to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the United States Department of Transportation, allowing Nebraska to “assume responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969” to help speed up roads projects. This is a procedural move that other states have used.
“With this measure in place, our new Department of Transportation will have another tool to help accelerate infrastructure construction in Nebraska,” the governor says.