Wipe the Department of Roads and Department of Aeronautics from your vocabulary, Nebraskans.
The state, the last holdout in the country, now has a Department of Transportation, with the signing of a bill (LB339) by Gov. Pete Ricketts -- with an emergency clause -- that merges the two departments.
It's a big deal, Ricketts said, because it will save the state between $12 million and $19 million a year and will create efficiencies, allowing the state to put more money into runways and roads without sacrificing jobs.
Ricketts also signed a bill (LB271) that will help the new Department of Transportation accelerate roads projects.
A third bill (LB518) will address workforce housing shortages across the state. Communities other than Lincoln and Omaha can apply for grant funds to build workforce housing, which are owner-occupied homes costing $275,000 or less to construct, or rental housing that costs no more than $200,000 to construct.
“Housing is one of the top concerns I hear about from Nebraskans as I travel the state,” Ricketts said.
The fund will use a one-time transfer of $7.3 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.