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LINCOLN, NEB - Lancaster County recently closed a bridge on Panama Road between Southwest 42nd and 56th streets. The bridge has some serious structural problems, but was closed because the stream is washing away from the bridge. Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

The Lancaster County Transportation Task Force has begun its work to provide recommendations to the Lancaster County Board regarding potential solutions to address our local infrastructure needs.

The citizen working group will examine the state of maintenance, needed repair and construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure in the county; best practices in peer counties to determine potential innovations and efficiencies in our Engineering Department; and policies to support growth in all of Lancaster County.

As we wrote in a Local View ("Balancing infrastructure and tax relief needs," Feb. 20, 2017), our conversations with voters during the last election cycle revealed a strong desire to address the deferred maintenance issues within the county transportation network while balancing the call for tax relief.

We promised that after the budget process for the 2018 fiscal year was complete, we would “review any unmet infrastructure needs ... and create an opportunity for community input regarding potential policy changes related to transportation infrastructure in the county. This will also be a forum for discussing innovation and potential financing mechanisms that could facilitate needed additional investment.”

The new task force will also examine opportunities to review policies that could be curtailed or abandoned to save money. Some of these discussions may be the most difficult. Changing the status quo is never easy. But the struggle between infrastructure investment and resource availability is inevitable, and our constituents deserve a fair, open dialog about what we must give up as well as what we want to support.

We are grateful for the time and energy the members of the Task Force have committed to the process and look forward to sharing the report with the entire community when it is complete this summer. Working together, we are confident we can bridge our current and future needs to facilitate additional growth and progress.

Roma Amundson, Walton, and Jennifer Brinkman, Lincoln

Lancaster County Commissioners

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