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Dear Residents of the 40th District,
The Legislature debated a very important bill this week, LB84, which adopts the Build Nebraska Act. LB84 will strengthen our infrastructure and provide funding mechanisms for maintaining our roads by directing one half cent of existing state sales tax to the State Highway Capital Improvement Fund to be used for construction of high-priority highway projects. This tax diversion will begin in 2013, after the current budget, and will continue until 2033. This will generate $125 million per year. LB84 also authorizes $500 million in highway bonds to accelerate construction of high-priority, high-dollar projects, with such bonds required to be paid within 20 years.
LB84 is essential for our state. Nebraska has not made maintenance of our roads a priority in recent years, and the funding from user fees and fuel tax has been insufficient due to lower revenue and increased costs. Specifically, consumers are purchasing less gasoline because of high prices and more fuel efficient vehicles. As a result, the Department of Roads has not been able to meet its needs. There has been considerable deterioration of the highway system, and many needed projects have not been addressed. LB84 offers a solution to these problems without increasing taxes.
Investing in the infrastructure in our state will stimulate business growth throughout Nebraska, and an adequate highway system is vital to commerce. It is important that we complete the expressway system that connects mid-sized towns to the Interstate, as well as replace unsafe or dilapidated roads and build new roads to meet any increasing demand. LB84 contributes to a positive business climate in Nebraska, and diverting sales tax to pay for our infrastructure is a responsible approach. While we face many budgetary concerns, revenue is expected to increase as the economy rebounds, and we all have to determine which expenditures should be our highest priorities.
LB84 was advanced on Friday, but with several amendments pending, additional debate will certainly be required.
Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or email@example.com.
Senator Tyson Larson