Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed the Transportation Innovation Act (TIA), which provides $450 million for “accelerated” expressway project, county bridge repairs in addition to other infrastructure projects.
Also known as LB960, the TIA was developed through the combined efforts of the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR), the Nebraska legislatures Transportation and Telecommunications Committee and the governor’s office.
The TIA also allows for a new design-build process that will facilitate some larger and complex projects to be completed up to four years earlier than could previously be achieved.
“Across Nebraska, the Transportation Innovation Act will help to build the infrastructure that Nebraskans use to see their families, drive to work, and get to school every day,” Ricketts says. “Agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism, our state’s three largest industries, depend on a 21st-century infrastructure to grow and expand. Accelerating work on our expressway systems and investing in projects that help grow and expand businesses, will help kick-start economic growth in these areas.”
Key points from the TIA:
Accelerated State Highway Capital Improvement Program
“The purpose of the program is to accelerate capital improvement projects to provide the earliest possible mobility, freight, and safety benefits to the state, thereby accelerating enhancements to the state’s economy and the quality of life of the general public. The department shall develop the program. The projects eligible for funding under the program include construction of the expressway system and federally designated high priority corridors and needs-driven capacity improvements across the state.”
County Bridge Match Program
“The department shall administer the program using funds from the Transportation Infrastructure Bank Fund, except that no more than $40 million shall be expended for this program. The purpose of the program is to promote innovative solutions and provide additional funding to accelerate the repair and replacement of deficient bridges on the county road system. The County Bridge Match Program terminates on June 30, 2023.”
Economic Opportunity Program
“No more than $20 million shall be expended for this program. The purpose of the program is to finance transportation improvements to attract and support new businesses and business expansions by successfully connecting such businesses to Nebraska’s multimodal transportation network and to increase employment, create high-quality jobs, increase business investment, and revitalize rural and other distressed areas of the state.”
Transportation Infrastructure Bank Fund
“The Transportation Infrastructure Bank Fund shall consist of money transferred from the Cash Reserve Fund pursuant to section 84-612 and any other money as determined by the Legislature. It is the intent of the Legislature that additional fuel tax revenue generated by Laws 2015, LB610, shall be transferred from the Roads Operations Cash Fund to the Transportation Infrastructure Bank Fund. Transfers shall be initiated each fiscal year by the State Treasurer following certification of revenue receipts by the Director-State Engineer from July 1, 2016, through June 2033.”
“The Department of Roads shall transmit electronically to the Legislature, by December 1 of each year, a report on the needs of the state highway system, and the department’s planning procedures, and the progress being made on the expressway system.”
NDOR Director Kyle Schneweis said the TIA’s “cutting-edge concepts” would help show Nebraska as a “national leader” in roads. “The infrastructure bank fund in this bill targets investment in key infrastructure priorities with the help of the new design-build process, which will cut red tape and help accelerate our state’s most complex infrastructure projects,” he says.
The agency says it will post updates on TIA implementation “as funding comes online and the project selection occurs.”