WAYNE – District 17 Senator Joni Albrecht recently visited Northeast Community College and Wayne State College as she highlighted other events in a weekly report.
According to a release from the office of Senator Albrecht, she explored key legislation that will be relevant to the college system in the upcoming Legislative Session with President Leah Barrett (NECC) and President Marysz Rames (WSC). Wes Blecke, Wayne City Administrator and Luke Virgil, Executive Director with Wayne Area Economic Development also provided Senator Albrecht a tour of Wayne.
Senator Albrecht also state it is very encouraging to see all that is progressing in the Wayne community. Near the end of last week, she also spent a couple of days in the Lincoln office at hearings and working on the legislation that Senator Albrecht will be introducing in January.
The United States Supreme Court announced that the Texas Heartbeat Act will remain in effect las Friday while litigation continues. “I am thankful for all of the lives that have been and will be saved while Nebraska stands as a pro-life state, we are anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision.”
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts also recently shared a report on agriculture stating that through the years, farmers and ranchers have built a reputation for producing crops and livestock that are second to none.
Agriculture is Nebraska’s largest industry as it supports about one in four jobs in Nebraska. Among U.S. states, Nebraska ranks #1 in agricultural cash receipts per capita; #2 in ethanol production, cattle on feed, all cattle and calves, beef exports and commercial red meat production; #3 in corn for grain production, corn exports and total ag cash receipts; #4 for land in farms and ranches; #5 for soybean exports, soybean production and sugar beet production; #6 for commercial hog slaughter and #7 in hogs and pigs on farms and pork exports.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation then presented their annual report to a joint hearing earlier this month with the Appropriations and Transportation and Telecommunication Committees. Senator Albrecht is a member of the Transportation and Telecommunication Committee.
“I appreciated the way Director John Selmer laid out the big picture needs for Nebraska’s Asset Preservation, System Modernization & Operation, and Capital Improvements for the next 20 years. He also updated us on the Build Nebraska Act along with the Transportation Innovation Act.”
There are approximately 95,000 miles of State, County, and Municipal roads within Nebraska. Of that, State highways comprise 10,000 centerline miles or 22,000 land miles (10%). When looking at the number of vehicle miles traveled in a year, the state highway carries about 64% of this traffic and when focusing on the total miles traveled by heavy trucks, the state highway system carries over 86% of the freight. There are over 15,000 bridges in the state. Of those, 3,500 bridges are on the state highway system. That equates to about 23%.
“Director Selmer informed us that there is still much to be determined with the recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. He shared that on the formula side, the Nebraska Department of Transportation will receive approximately an additional $110 million for Fiscal Year 2022. This amount will be increased by around 2% for the following years of the law.”
About $45 million will be in existing programs with existing rules with the remaining $55 million will be in new formula programs where the rules are not defined. The most significant new formula program is for bridge preservation, with about $38 million in additional funding to the Nebraska Department of Transportation and about $7 million going to local bridges. At this time, no decisions have been made on the use of any new federal funds.
Senator Albrecht also provided information on the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO), which is the third oldest multi-state Council of Governments in the nation. This group was organized as a voluntary association of local governments in 1965 between Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.
SIMPCO held this year’s Tri-State Legislative forum on December 3 in Sioux City.
“Though I was unable to attend, I have kept informed on key project areas directly relating to SIMPCO’s 2022 Legislative priorities.”
They include Infrastructure Improvements; Diverse, Affordable, and Market-Rate Housing; Quality of Life as well as Economic and Workforce Development. “SIMPCO continues to play an important role in our state and my office will keep a close eye on the issues at hand.”
If you have any comments or concerns, contact Senator Albrecht at 402-471-2716 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.