North-south corridor good idea, but where?
Sen. Ben Nelson has a good point about highways, which he makes in this week's column for Nebraskans.
Nelson notes the remarkable growth of cities along the Interstate 80 corridor through Nebraska, and calls for a similar, major north-south route.
He calls for construction of the Heartland Expressway, part of the proposed four-lane Great Plains International Trade Corridor connecting major metropolitan cities and regional trade centers of the Great Plains from the Canada to Mexico.
Nebraska delegates have requested $21.5 million in earmarks the Heartland Expressway, which were included in the 2005 federal highway bill.
Nebraska, however, has to provide a 20-percent match of about $4.3 million so the project can go ahead.
To tell the truth, we'd rather see U.S. Highway 83 expanded to four lanes, creating a north-south corridor midway between Interstate 25, which carries north-south traffic from Denver to Buffalo, Wyo., and Interstate 29, which handles the load just across the Nebraska-Iowa border.
Or, what about funding the proposed Snowbird Trail, running diagonally through the state?
The two-lane Highway 83 is probably sufficient to handle traffic between McCook, North Platte and Valentine, but if we build it, the population growth will come, if we follow the prevailing logic. Truck traffic from the Wal-Mart distribution center in North Platte offers a glimpse of the potential for north-south transportation.