Lincoln, NE (December 15, 2020) The first Lincoln on the Move Annual Report outlines plans to complete or start about 50 neighborhood and arterial street projects over the six years of quarter-cent sales tax funded street investment program. The report was released today by Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Shannon Harner, Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee of Transportation (ACT). The annual report is available at lincoln.ne.gov/streets.
“Our streets are critical assets that drive economic growth, create jobs, and improve safety,” Mayor Gaylor Baird said. “Well-designed and maintained streets also decrease congestion and improve air quality. Streets are the arteries through which our Lincoln economy pulses. Investing in transportation infrastructure now, enhances our quality of life and opens the door to growth opportunities that will assure our children and grandchildren have a vibrant community to call home.”
The ACT is a 14-member citizen group appointed by the Mayor to help prioritize the street improvement and construction projects to be undertaken using the new funds approved by voters in the spring of 2019. The City began collecting revenue from the quarter-cent sales tax October 1, 2019, and the first projects were started in spring 2020. The tax is scheduled to expire September 20, 2025.
Liz Elliott, Director of Lincoln Transportation and Utilities (LTU), said year one funds totaled $13.8 million, higher than original estimates.
“Not surprisingly, the program saw a dip in funding during the first three months of the pandemic but has since rebounded,” Elliott said. “This is a positive sign Lincoln on the Move will meet its projected goals to fund additional street projects. Maintaining sustainability, efficiency and coordination in all aspects of Lincoln on the Move is a priority for LTU.”
Six major projects have been completed this year and two more are in progress. They include three residential improvement projects, two arterial improvement projects, and three growth projects. Twenty projects are scheduled for year two. Future projects are subject to adjustment due to economic fluctuation through the years.
“As a Council member, street issues are one of the most common resident service requests and we work hard to respond,” said City Council member Bennie Shobe. “I’m proud of increasing investments in streets because it supports our high quality of life here in Lincoln. Getting safely to work and school, supporting businesses, and allowing fast response by emergency services are just a few examples.”
“The quarter-cent sales tax for street improvements narrowly passed at the ballot box,” said City Council member Roy Christensen. “With these completed street improvement projects, the public can have increased confidence that we are on the right path.”
The program allocates 73.5 percent of the revenue to existing street improvements, 25 percent to growth street projects, and 1.5 percent to LTU and Railroad Transportation Safety District (RTSD) partnership to enhance North 33rd and Cornhusker Highway railroad intersections. Year two of the RTSD project includes the completion of draft environmental work and the continuation of public support and dialog.
Harner said ACT offered oversight of the program and is a key part of the street project selection process. The committee is comprised of a variety of people with differing life experiences, viewpoints and interests, she said.
“The voices of many constituencies are at the table and influencing city policy and decision making, ensuring a more equitable outcome,” Harner said. “I’ve learned a lot about exactly how much thought does go into each decision. Coordination of other utility projects for efficiency, data from the Decision Lens tool and robust discussion and consideration of equity for all city quadrants are regular components of each decision.”
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