Bill To Finance Neb. Roads Stalls In Legislature

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Lincoln, Neb. -- A bill to allow bond financing for Nebraska road projects is hitting a roadblock in the Legislature.

Opponents on Wednesday launched a filibuster to block the measure, which would allow Nebraska to issue up to $200 million in bonds.

Nebraska has used a debt-free, pay-as-you-go system for decades, but supporters say the state could take advantage of low interest rates. Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton says she introduced the bill to accelerate work on long-delayed projects.

"I don't see what should help rural Nebraska, you see most of it here in Lincoln and Omaha," said Sen. John Harms.

"The economic development benefits are huge for rural Nebraska. People want to see a change in the West, this is one way to get it done," said Sen. Al Davis.

"There could be an interest increasing the motor fuel tax which frankly would have an effect on businesses and families," said Sen. Jim Smith.

"They bring mobility to the larger communities in the state of Nebraska because we can move traffic in a more efficient and safe manner," said Sen. Jim Scheer.

The bill would require a fixed, five percent interest rate for bonds, to be issued within two years.

The Nebraska Department of Roads opposes the bill. Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha calls the legislation a "boondoggle" and has vowed to kill it.