Gov. Ricketts Announces $3 Million in Additional Funding For County and City Roads
Additional funding became available because of project efficiencies identified by the Roads Department
LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) Director Kyle Schneweis announced a change that will direct an additional $3 million in roads funding to Nebraska counties and first-class cities for road and street purposes.
“Increasing funding to our cities and counties through this program without raising taxes will help the state’s local government partners continue to build the roads Nebraskans want and deserve,” said Governor Ricketts. “A 21st-century infrastructure is key to Growing Nebraska, and my administration is committed to working with local government across the state to realize this goal in a fiscally responsible way.”
The Federal Funds Purchase Program, launched in 2013, allows the Department to purchase the counties’ and first-class cities’ share of federal funds with state funds. Those state dollars allow local agencies to tailor projects to better meet their local needs without navigating the federal regulatory framework. Previously, the Department purchased each dollar of federal funds with 80 cents of state highway funds, for an exchange rate of 80 percent.
Recently, NDOR and the Federal Highway Administration have worked to develop project delivery efficiencies that have reduced preliminary engineering and construction costs. These savings from potentially earlier project delivery will now be passed on to local government.
This will result in a new purchase rate of 90 percent instead of the current 80 percent, for an annual increase in funding to local governments of approximately $3 million. This higher funding level will be paid out with the next annual purchase of federal funds in March 2016.
“NDOR is committed to teaming with cities and counties to address the growing needs of our state’s aging infrastructure system,” said Director Schneweis. “We are proud of the efficiencies we’ve gained by streamlining our project delivery processes and we are pleased to share those savings with our local government partners.”
The Governor and Director were joined by representatives from the Nebraska League of Municipalities and the Nebraska Association of County Officials who lauded the announcement.
“The Federal Funds Purchase Program is a great resource for Nebraska’s first-class cities,” said Nebraska League of Municipalities Executive Director Lynn Rex. “The Governor’s announcement today helps to maximize existing revenue streams while avoiding red tape. This is key for Nebraska’s cities as they look for the best way build new infrastructure as they continue to grow.”
“The Nebraska Association of County Officials thanks Governor Ricketts and Director of the Department of Roads, Kyle Schneweis, for taking the lead to increase the county share of the federal funds purchase program from 80 to 90 cents,” said Nebraska Association of County Officials Executive Director Larry Dix. “Counties are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on federal oversight that could instead be used to rebuild and rehabilitate deteriorating bridges and county roads. The ongoing efforts by the Ricketts administration to restore the partnership between counties and the State of Nebraska will lead to increased opportunities to restore county infrastructure across our state.”