Possible repeal could stall Lincoln beltway project - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Possible repeal could stall Lincoln beltway project

Posted: Updated: Feb 28, 2013 04:41 PM CST

By: Bill Schammert

The Build Nebraska Act would put 1/4 of one cent of the five cent sales tax collected to pay for roads projects.  In Lincoln, it would be the primary funding for the South Beltway project.  But some are afraid it's taking away from education, and are now seeking a repeal.

The freeway would connect east and west Lincoln and cost about $200-million.  Lincoln Sen. Danielle Conrad is afraid the Build Nebraska Act takes away too much money from education and other services.

"That results in about $70-million annually," Sen. Conrad testified at a hearing on Wednesday.

The senator says the total over the 20-year time frame would equate to more than $1-billion.

Executive director of Voices for Children, Carolyn Rooker, also testified in favor of the bill.

"Today's children are tomorrow's taxpayers," Rooker said.  "Failure to invest in children is costly to their future and the future of our state."

The act was passed in 2011, and its support was evident at Wednesday's hearing in front of the Revenue Committee.  Only two groups testified in favor of the repeal, while more than twenty spoke out to keep the Build Nebraska Act in tact.

"We're going to be around 300-thousand people very soon and we are one of very few cities without a transportation loup," Bruce Bohrer said, representing the city of Lincoln.

"You get the traffic moving, and you get people able to move from community to community," Loy Todd said, representing the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce.

The bill now has to make it out of committee, but one senator says he doesn't anticipate that happening.

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