In 2021 AGC Nebraska worked with Senator Bruce Bostelman to introduce LB 339, which would have required the Department of Transportation to complete a utility coordination plan which would be included in project bid documents. After the bill’s hearing, amendment language was drafted and the bill carried over to 2022 legislative session. The bill was key to bringing NDOT leadership to the table and jumpstarting internal agency changes that will hopefully address longstanding industry concerns with utility coordination. Currently, the Utility Task Force is meeting with the NDOT Utility Division bi-monthly to provide assistance with their initial improvements.
Senators passed LB 809 which should hopefully improve parts of the project permitting process. As originally introduced in LB 978 from Senator Dan Hughes, the bill provides that the State of Nebraska will assume the jurisdictional responsibility to condition, approve or deny dredge and fill permits under the 404 program, rather than the Corps of Engineers.
Public Private Partnerships and Progressive Design Build were also authorized as a methods of project delivery this session under LB 1016. Progressive design-build means a project-delivery process in which both the design and construction of a project are procured from a single entity that is selected through a qualification-based selection process at the earliest feasible stage of the project.
The Legislature directed $60 million in federal funding under the American Rescue Plan Act to be split evenly among the six community colleges for capital programs that support workforce development.
AGC Nebraska worked with Senator Tom Brewer to introduce LB 778 which would have prohibited NDOT and local agencies from offering preference to or penalizing bidders based on whether their workforce was unionized or not. This jump-starts an important conversation to address an issue that is starting to come up more at both the national and local levels.
AGC Nebraska worked with the AGC Building Chapter on the Lincoln Apprentice Incentive Ordinance over the winter. While it passed and will go into bid documents beginning January 2023, we were successful in increasing the project threshold and getting SCC, and other like institutions, added to the definition.
With sky-high tax receipts, a record cash reserve, and the one-time availability of over $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding, the Legislature had a unique opportunity to address a variety of state infrastructure needs.
The highlights were:
The Department of Transportation’s road construction program was set at $806.7 million for FY2021-2022 and $809.2 million for FY2022-2023.
$100 million in ARPA funding was allocated for capital projects sponsored by non-profits, including sports complexes and arts & culture organizations.
$73 million was appropriated to repair irrigation canal infrastructure, including $23 million to repair irrigation of the Ft. Laramie-Gering Irrigation Canal.
$20 million was identified to assist the State Fair to improve its storm drainage and wastewater system
$50M was set aside to do preliminary work on a canal from Colorado to Southwest Nebraska, asserting Nebraska’s rights under the South Platte River Compact.
LB 1149 was introduced to increase fees on electric vehicles so that those cars contribute their fair share towards the state's roads funding needs. The bill was held in committee but a representative from the public power industry indicated that they were ready to work on finding a solution to collecting user fees on the electricity. We will be focusing on this issue during the off season. The plan is to gather our transportation coalition group to begin working on the best way to prepare for the next 5 to 10 years as the automobile landscape changes.
The Legislature passed the largest tax relief bill in recent memory. When fully phased in it will cut taxes by $900M a year.
The plan will:
Phase-out state income taxation on social security benefits, completely exempted in 2025
Reduce the top individual income tax rate by .2% per year to a rate of 5.84% for tax year 2027
Reduce top corporate income tax rate annually beginning 2025 to a rate of 5.84% for tax year 2027
Create a tax credit for community college property taxes paid: The available amount statewide to be claimed starts at $50M and grows to $196M in 2026
Increase the statewide amount available for the existing tax credit for school property taxes paid to $560M for 2023
Grow the funding for the property tax credits at the same rate as property tax valuations up to a 5% cap