Mayor Chris Beutler and officials from the city of Lincoln, Lancaster County and the Railroad Transportation Safety District announced a funding plan that will allow construction of the South Beltway project to begin in 2020.
The new plan will also save the city of Lincoln $10 million on the project. Lincoln was originally paying 20 percent of the $300 million budget. But, they got the $60 million cut down to $50 million as long as the city prepaid their share.
The city’s $50 million matched contribution will not increase taxes or delay other important roads projects, Beutler said Wednesday.
The funding comes from a combination of sources:
· $18.6 million previously paid by the City to the State
· $11.4 million from the City’s Capital Improvement Program
· $13 million previously committed by the RTSD for rail crossings
· $7 million from the RTSD
The adjustment is made possible because city payments made over the next 16 months allow the state to immediately move forward on important highway needs, allowing it to avoid inflated construction costs.
"Working with the state we were able to negotiate, come to an agreement, and we can prepay the local match so that we can ensure that the funding is in place so that when the state and federal government is ready to move forward with this project that it can move forward," said Todd Wiltgen the Lancaster County Board Chair.
Wiltgen and Beutler were thankful for the swift compromise, and said this funding is an example of multiple levels of government working together for the whole state.
The beltway is designed to relieve traffic congestion and improve safety, mobility and efficiency in Lincoln by connecting Highway 77, south of Saltillo Road, to Highway 2, near S. 120th Street and Rokeby Road.
“The distant dream of a South Beltway has become a reality because of the planning and partnership between the people standing with me today and our State transportation leaders. We put our heads together and found a solution that gets the job done,” Beutler said.