Omaha-area to get $200 million road funding boost
May 19, 2020
Voters in Douglas County, Neb., have approved boosting funding for street repairs in the state’s largest city.
The countywide ballot on the state’s May 12 primary included a question to issue and sell $200 million in bonds to fund what is described by officials with the city of Omaha as a “long-term pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction program.” Question 1 was approved by a 73% to 27% margin.
Passage of Question 1 was tied to passage of a second question on the ballot. Question 2 authorizes using the property tax to repay the general obligation bonds. The second question was approved by a 64% to 36% margin.
The vote marks the second time in three years that area voters have authorized transportation bonds. In 2018, 83% of voters approved the use of $151.3 million in bonds for road and bridge repairs.
Passage covers funding shortfall
An evaluation conducted by the Omaha mayor’s office showed that the city should spend $75 million annually to resurface 250 lane miles of road. The city now spends roughly $41 million per year to resurface about 125 lane miles.
The difference amounts to a $34 million annual shortfall.
The $200 million transportation bond is estimated to raise $40 million annually for five years – enough to cover the shortfall.
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said passage of the May 12 bond measures will allow the city to move quickly on improving road infrastructure.
“With voter support, we will immediately begin an aggressive, new, pavement maintenance program to repair and rehabilitate streets throughout the city,” Stothert said in prepared remarks.
The mayor said that road work funded via the bond issue will begin this summer.
More transportation ballot coverage
Keith Goble, state legislative editor for Land Line Media, keeps track of many transportation ballot issues across the U.S. Here are some other articles by him.