Funding biggest concern from public on Heartland Expressway - Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Funding biggest concern from public on Heartland Expressway

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People in the panhandle have spoken and funding is the biggest issue when it comes to the Heartland Expressway project.
During the month of May, the Department of Roads accepted public comments on the $542 million dollar road project that will stretch through western Nebraska.

Heartland Expressway representative Daniel Bennett says for general transportation and highway funding Congress needs to pass a short term bill through September 30th. Then a long term bill needs to be passed to ensure the states continue to get federal transportation funding for the next few years.

But in addition to funding concerns, Panhandle Area Development District representative Jeff Kelley says there are environmental concerns as well.
"Mr. Wilkinson with the Department of Roads says they're still working with the environmental assessment which is a big part of it because they're not sure right now if it's going to lead into an environmental assessment. It's a lot of work to complete those and it's not a fast process," said Kelley.
The plan is to build a four-lane highway from northwest Colorado to southern South Dakota. The highway will cut through Kimball, Scottsbluff, Gering, Alliance, Chadron and eastern Wyoming.

"Nebraska gets 49 percent of its highway and bridge funding from the federal government. Without these funds, it would be very difficult to complete projects like the Heartland Expressway," said Bennett.
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