LIBA Asks Revenue Committee to Maintain Roads Funding under the Build Nebraska Act – 27 February 2013

The Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) strongly opposes LB531. This bill would reverse the 2011 action by the Legislature to fund roads with the passage of LB84 – The Build Nebraska Act.1
 
In the past 12 years, 18 people have lost their lives in tragic accidents on Highway 2. To clarify, these 18 deaths occurred in the stretch of Highway 2 that goes through the City of Lincoln. Highway 2 from east Lincoln to west Lincoln is very dangerous and keeps taking lives. One of those lives was Maurine Mumma of Lincoln who died three days ago.
 
According to the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) 20 year plan, Highway 2 will be the only Nebraska highway in the “red zone” or the extreme category for semi-truck traffic. This problem will only get worse unless we do something about it. The Build Nebraska Act allows us to do something about it.
 
The City of Lincoln, Lancaster County and NDOR have already invested a significant amount in purchasing right-of-way for the protection of the Lincoln South Beltway. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the State has spent about $10 million (80 percent of it federal money, 10 percent city and 10 percent state) for engineering and the purchase of two large parcels of land for the beltway.2
 
It’s not just LIBA that supports road funding:
 
In June of 2009, then U.S. Senator Ben Nelson told Lincoln Journal Star reporter Don Walton that he had concern over “the lack of progress on the Lincoln South Beltway.”
 
Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler summed up the importance of a south beltway in 2009 when he told the Lincoln Journal Star that the beltway’s completion is crucial to Lincoln’s economic vitality and driver safety.4
 
Just five months ago, we had to close part of Highway 2 when a 17,000 pound container of radioactive waste slid into the sleeper cab of a semi that was hauling it. This occurred on a Husker game day.
 
For the safety of our families, please vote no on LB531.

 

 
1 LB84, sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine, chairman of the Legislature's Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, earmarks a quarter of one cent of the 5 1/2-cent state sales tax for roads funding. Collection would start in 2013 and continue 20 years.
2 Deena Winter, South Beltway Future in Question, Lincoln Journal Star (June 26, 2009).
3 Don Walton, Nelson wants quicker road work, Lincoln Journal Star (June 1, 2009).
4 Deena Winter, South Beltway Future in Question, Lincoln Journal Star (June 26, 2009).