Nebraska will have a new source of funding for road work if Gov. Dave Heineman signs a bill sent to him by the legislature last week. The bill included a measure to take one-quarter-cent of the 5.5-cent state sales tax and deposit it into a new State Highway Capital Improvement Fund for the next two decades, according to Land Line magazine.
Nebraska’s highway funding gap is estimated to grow to $9.2 billion over the next 20 years. The sales-tax measure could bring in an estimated $65 million a year, or $1.3 billion total to be put toward high-priority highway improvement and reconstruction projects.
The state has until now relied solely on user fees, such as fuel taxes.
“The bill will provide approximately $70 million per year for roads funding,” state Sen. Deb Fischer, the bill’s sponsor, wrote on her website. “Cities and counties will receive 15% of the sales tax revenue for local roads projects, providing some possible property tax relief, and 25% will be designated for expressways. The remaining amount will be used for high-priority state roads projects. Roads are a responsibility of government and the Legislature has made the commitment to fund this core governmental duty.”
The new highway funding provision will take effect in 2013, giving the state time to recover from the recession and get projects ready.