LINCOLN–(KFOR Feb. 23)–Governor Jim Pillen on Wednesday testified in support of LB 706, a bill that clears the way for the Nebraska Department of Transportation to use bonding authority to quickly increase work on finishing highway improvement projects, identified in the Build Nebraska Act.
“I believe deeply that this is an important piece of legislation that will allow us to compete and grow Nebraska in an economically viable way,” said Governor Pillen. “As currently amended, LB 706 provides a pathway for the expansion and reconstruction of the state’s highway system and ensures necessary projects are planned and completed on a much faster timetable.”
Bonding would provide the “financing tool” to accelerate the completion of such projects, resulting in maximum benefit to communities and the state.
With the amendment, LB 706 would authorize NDOT to issue highway bonds in an amount not to exceed $450 million in principle with $35 million in annual debt service for a period of not more than 19 years. It requires bonds be issued prior to June 30, 2029 and paid off no later than June 30, 2042. To ensure there is a stable revenue stream for the terms of the bonds, the bill would extend BNA funding until 2042. Currently, funding for the BNA will sunset in 2033.
During his testimony, Governor Pillen noted the bill would also address safety issues that exist for travelers on two-lane highways.
“It is a legitimate safety hazard, when you consider truck traffic, farm vehicles and the other types of heavy equipment that traverse those roadways. Improvements are necessary to make sure they are safe for everyone.”