[mccookgazette.com] Overcast ~ 39°F  
High: 54°F ~ Low: 35°F
Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Paving the way for highway construction

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nebraska has three seasons: winter, football, and road construction. It's an old joke but it emphasizes why we go all out in the summer months with road construction. Good roads are important to Nebraska's economy. Not only do they create jobs while they're being built, but they are our state's corridors of commerce that promote economic growth.

Ten Thousand-Plus Jobs

I supported and Congress recently passed a short-term six-month extension of the highway authorization act. Getting this bill passed was good news in that it made sure workers stayed on the job and kept many important roads projects on track.

Analysis by the U.S. Department of Transportation showed that Nebraska would have had 10,370 job losses if the highway authorization act would have been allowed to lapse. Nationally, more than 1.8 million jobs would have been lost if the legislation had not been passed and a shutdown of our nation's roads programs would have occurred.

Long-Term Bill Needed

Clearly, a short-term extension was better than seeing the building and repairing of our nation's roads come to a stop. But in order to provide a little bit of certainty in an uncertain economy, I would prefer that Congress quit kicking the can down the road and instead of passing short-term extensions work towards passing a multi-year bill. Companies need the certainty of a long-term bill so they can plan for the future and hire more workers and cities and states need to do long-term planning when it comes to infrastructure investments.

Investing in infrastructure is one of the few issues that has historically garnered widespread bipartisan support. Unfortunately, nowadays Congress seems to be more interested in job-killing partisan fighting than working together on a bill like a new highway reauthorization that would create tens of thousands of jobs and deliver the infrastructure improvements our country sorely needs.

And Nebraska could certainly use the boost the passage of a new highway authorization act would provide. According to the Nebraska Department of Roads 2010 State Needs Assessment, the report identifies current roads funding needs for our state for the next 20 years at $9.2 billion, in today's dollars. With inflation applied at 5% for FY-2012 and FY-2013, and 3% for the remaining 18 years, over the next 20 years the total costs are estimated at $13.2 billion.

Cut The Red Tape

I have long been focused on cutting the bureaucratic red tape that too often holds up important projects from being delivered effectively and efficiently. Addressing this issue will be one of my top priorities in the new highway bill. This red tape is holding up millions of dollars for projects that has already had funding designated for them.

I have been working with transportation officials in Nebraska on ideas to streamline the delivery of federal aid roads projects so that we use taxpayer funds more efficiently. Bringing this Nebraska common sense to our nation's Capitol will go a long ways in making sure we are getting roads built and putting more people to work.

Fact Check
See inaccurate information in this story?

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on mccookgazette.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

How do you build more roads with money we don't have because of wasteful spending from Washington that Ben Nelson voted for and supported over the years? Funny how Ben talks this way in Nebraska and in his communications to Nebraska but while in Washington he does just the opposite with the Democrat party. Time to start looking for another job because this act will not play with Nebraskan's anymore. Call the mayor of McCook and apply for the City Manager position, I hear he is a really big fan of yours.

This is one politician that changes his message more that anyone out there, which leads to the one question we will never get a straight answer to. What are your morals and long standing principals you plan to govern by?

-- Posted by sleeper on Tue, Sep 27, 2011, at 5:48 AM


I am not sure if you are trying to insult our Country because of its crumbling infrastructure system, Senator Nelson, the Mayor of McCook, the citizens of McCook, the Democratic Party, Washington D.C., or all of the above.

Can you be a little more specific and limit one insult per paragraph?

-- Posted by Geezer on Tue, Sep 27, 2011, at 7:39 AM

The government on all levels is spending money on things the government was never intended to do. Infrastructure should be a priority, caring for people from cradle to grave is NOT.

-- Posted by sleeper on Tue, Sep 27, 2011, at 10:35 AM

How is suggesting the McCook City Manager job to Senator Nelson an insult? I believe he will need to find a job in December of 2012 and since he has done so much to allow McCook to survive, they should welcome him with open arms.

Ben Nelson truly exposed his liberal side not only on the Obamacare vote that was bought and paid for through a corrupt process in the Senate but with his constant attempts to play kingmaker with earmarks. Can you say 21CSI anyone? How much tax money did they funnel down that rat hole that Rex Nelson and the MEDC helped create not only with federal tax dollars but local sales tax dollars as well?

The government should stay out of the free market all together and focus on what the constitution says that government is for: Defending our freedom and liberties and yes the public infrastructure. The infrastructure problem is no different than social security and that is the government forgot what they are there for and the promises made to the PEOPLE by career politicians. Get back to basics with a smaller government at all levels and let the free market work because every time this socialistic experiment is tried, it fails.

-- Posted by sleeper on Tue, Sep 27, 2011, at 1:26 PM


Thanks for the reply!

It appears the root of your concerns lie in the function of government and the spending associated with various programs. Of particular interest seems to be services provided to the needy, elderly, disabled, or unemployed.

I think everybody questions government programs and their effectiveness from time to time. I recently caught myself questioning the million plus dollars of Federal Funds used to help purchase water rights along the Republican River -- or the fact that 10% of the farmers receiving Federal Government Subsidies in Nebraska receive 62% of all farm subsidies.


Which programs are you concerned with?

-- Posted by Geezer on Tue, Sep 27, 2011, at 1:50 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: