The state's transportation infrastructure is critical to our economic well-being. Since Nebraska's early beginning our growth has been influenced by transportation. Today the infrastructure is the interstate and expressways rather than the Oregon Trail; however, the value hasn't changed. The revenue needed for roads comes from gas tax. Gas tax revenues are lagging significantly behind the cost of construction and maintenance. We have to find new funding sources or the political will to increase the gas tax. We cannot afford to fall further behind, particularly in rural Nebraska.
During the 2007 session I voted in support of LB 305 which moved the sales tax paid on leased cars and trucks from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund. I also voted during the budget debate to increase the gas tax by 1.8 cents. In the 2008 session there were several senators, including me who met on a regular basis to discuss road building priorities and funding. All of us in the group want to see the state's 1989 expressway plan completed. As a result I supported Senator Fischer's bill in 2008 to redo the way that gas tax is collected in hopes that it might generate more money for roads. In addition, shortly after the gas tax had dropped 4 cents, I supported putting 1.2 cents back on and I supported the use of some cash reserve dollars as matching funds for federal highway projects scheduled for construction in Nebraska.