The Heartland Expressway Association, as a member of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, is active in federal advocacy to ensure that the federal government does not abandon its constitutional role by transferring responsibility for the national transportation network to state and local governments. The Association is a strong advocate for flexible federal funding allowing state Departments of Transportation/Roads to apply federal funding to their own priorities. To carry out this advocacy in concert with the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, the Association participates in annual trips to Washington DC and maintains regular communications with the States’ Congressional delegation. All these efforts support transportation in general in the region.
State Level Advocacy
At home in Heartland Expressway corridor states, the Heartland Expressway Association regularly communicates with local governments and citizens through media regarding the importance of transportation revenues to Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota and their respective Department of Roads or Transportation. Whenever possible, we reach out to Transportation/Roads department staff, Commissioners and State legislators about our actions and desires.
Within Nebraska, the Heartland Expressway Association participates in the 4 Lanes 4 Nebraska organization. 4 Lanes 4 Nebraska is an industry and business coalition working to raise awareness of the economic, social, and public safety benefits of finishing Nebraska’s expressway system and connecting our communities with 21st century infrastructure.
The Association supported both LB 84, the Build Nebraska Act which dedicated a portion of existing sales tax revenue to construction in 2011 and the recent legislative action (LB 610) to increase fuel taxes by 1.5 cents for three more years, until the rate adds up to a 6-cent increase. HEA will continue to advocate for our long-held belief that finishing the Heartland Expressway through Nebraska is a critical economic development tool for all of Western Nebraska.
- 1988– Construction of a statewide Expressway System in Nebraska mandated under LB 632 and LB 1041 to connect urban centers to the Interstate. Heartland Expressway from Kimball to Scottsbluff is included in this plan.
- 1991– Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) passed into law, identifying the Heartland Expressway as a Federally Designated ‘High Priority Corridor’.
- 2005– Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) becomes law. South Dakota delegation secures $70 million to finish construction of the Heartland Expressway from Rapid City to the Nebraska-South Dakota state line.
- 2011– Build Nebraska Act (LB 84) is passed, providing funding for state highway capital improvement projects. 25% of funds are to be dedicated for expressway construction. Portion of the Heartland Expressway on US 385 included in Tier I projects.
- 2012– Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) signed into law, providing two years of funding for surface transportation. There were no funding allocations to specific High Priority Corridor projects.
- 2013– Wyoming approves a 10 cent fuel tax increase expected to generate $71.8 million more annually for state and local roads.
- 2015– South Dakota lawmakers approve 6 cent fuel tax increase expected to generate an additional $40.5 million per year.
- 2015– Nebraska lawmakers approve 6 cent fuel tax increase expected to generate an additional $75 million per year for state and local roads.
- 2015– Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) becomes law, providing 5-years of federal funding to surface transportation and the Highway Trust Fund.
- 2016– Nebraska passes the Transportation Innovation Act in law, allocating a total $450 million to Nebraska projects.
- 2018– MOU signed between the Federal Highway Administration and the Nebraska Department of Transportation to house some NEPA responsibilities within the NDOT, allowing for increased efficiency in the build process.