Funding for roads crucial

Fremont (Neb.) Tribune: A good transportation system can be an economic driver.

That’s something Nebraska lawmakers need to remember come January when they begin to craft the state’s two-year budget. It’s important to the state’s economic development objectives that a key roads funding source — LB84 — remain intact.

Passed in the 2010 legislative session through the efforts of the Transportation Committee, LB84 will use 1/4-cent of the 5 1/2-cent state sales tax for roads funding. Collection of those funds is to start in 2013 and continue for 20 years.

Plenty of lawmakers have their eyes on those funds. Many Dodge County residents want to make sure work finally begins on an expanded U.S. Highway 30 between Fremont and Schuyler. Washington County residents will be happy to see an improved and widened Nebraska Highway 133, which ... was moved up on the construction schedule.

But there are those who may try to seek a repeal of LB84. With an uncertain economy and the possibility of a budget shortfall, some will argue those funds — estimated at $60 million per year — will be better spend elsewhere.

LB84 funds need to be used to improve the state’s transportation system. Those improvements will allow people and goods to move faster and safer around the state, which is a key for economic development efforts.

Diverting these funds is a bad idea, and we need to make sure our area representatives know that.

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