Neb. Senate shoots down road-funding alternatives

Increase in state gas tax, use of property tax fund among four measures rejected

News Omaha Journal Star April 20, 2011
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When it comes to fighting deteriorating roads and bridges, Nebraska appears to be out of bullets.

The state Senate rejected four road-funding proposals on April 19, including one that called for a five-cent increase in the state gas tax, which currently stands at 12.5 cents. That measure was opposed by a convincing 38-4 margin. Other measures did not fare much better. An amendment that would have used half of excess revenue brought in each year for road improvements was killed by a 33-10 count, and a move that would use all of the funds from the state’s Property Tax Relief Cash Fund for road improvements failed 32-5.

The only measure that came marginally close to passing was one that called for the appropriation of as much as $65 million a year between 2013 and 2033 for road funding. Eighteen of the 31 senators rejected that proposal.

One amendment that calls for the use of the state’s sales tax for road construction still has life. The Senate was expected to vote on the measure April 20. Over the span of 20 years, the move could collect $65 million annually. At least 25% would be used for expressway system construction and federally designated high-priority projects.

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