Nebraska bill would authorize public-private partnerships

February 16, 2022

Keith Goble


A Nebraska bill would authorize the use of public-private partnerships for transportation projects.

The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee heard testimony on the bill to allow the Nebraska Department of Transportation to enter into public-private partnerships for construction and financing of certain capital projects that include completion of the state’s expressway system.

In 1988, planning began for the completion of the expressway system. The system has a completion date of 2040.

The system is intended to connect locales with a population of at least 15,000 with Interstate 80.

Advocates say authorization of public-private partnerships would accelerate completion of the system that has been delayed in northeast Nebraska.

Sen. Lynne Walz of Freemont said the highway department needs more tools to speed that process, including a mechanism for a private partner to finance a project and for the state to make payments over time.

“We are a pay-as-you-go state, which is fantastic, but I do have concern that as we continue to see inflation, wages and supply costs increase, we may not have the financial resources to continue down that path,” Walz said in a news release. “(Public-private) contracts would provide us with a different option for completion.”

She adds that her bill, LB1016, also would help to make improvements and expansion projects of the state’s interstates.

The state DOT would be allowed to enter into contracts of up to $100 million. Projects exceeding that amount would require the agency to seek legislative approval.

The Nebraska DOT director would be required to develop regulations by July 1, 2023, to determine when a public-private partnership could be used for a particular project.

LB1016 remains in committee. LL

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