BIL investment in Nebraska will help the state with much needed bridge repairs and/or replacement, but new infrastrcture must be built to last.
Nebraska is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States with a population of over 1.9 million people. The state has an extensive transportation system that includes highways, railroads, airports, and ports. However, the state's infrastructure faces several challenges, including a need for repairs and upgrades to aging structures, capacity constraints, and funding gaps. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Nebraska a C- on its infrastructure report card.
The state's highway system comprises over 10,000 miles of roads, with more than 4,000 bridges. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 19% of the state's bridges are structurally deficient, and 37% are functionally obsolete. The state has also seen a rise in traffic fatalities in recent years, with 249 deaths recorded in 2020, up from 224 in 2019.
Nebraska's rail system is an essential component of the state's economy, with over 3,600 miles of track and 21 freight railroads. The state's rail network is a critical link in moving goods between the West Coast and the Midwest, including agricultural products and other commodities. However, the rail system faces challenges such as congestion, capacity constraints, and a need for modernization.
The state's airports serve as vital transportation hubs, with 80 airports in total. The largest airport is Eppley Airfield in Omaha, which serves over 4.6 million passengers annually. Nebraska's airports support a range of activities, including commercial air service, general aviation, and military operations.
Nebraska's waterways also play a crucial role in the state's transportation system, with the Port of Omaha serving as a critical gateway for moving goods to and from the Midwest. The port handled over 1.3 million tons of cargo in 2019, including agricultural products, chemicals, and petroleum.
In terms of funding, Nebraska faces a significant gap in infrastructure investment, with the state's gas tax revenue not keeping pace with the cost of maintaining and improving its transportation system. The state is exploring various funding options, including public-private partnerships, tolling, and other revenue sources, to close this gap and address the state's infrastructure challenges.
Overall, while Nebraska's infrastructure provides critical support for the state's economy and quality of life, the state faces several challenges in maintaining and improving its transportation system. Addressing these challenges will require significant investment and innovation to ensure that Nebraska's infrastructure can continue to support the state's growth and development in the years ahead.