LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) unveiled the selection criteria for the County Bridge Match Program. This program was created through the Transportation Innovation Act (TIA), one of the Governor’s top initiatives passed during the recent legislative session. The program will promote innovative solutions and provide additional funding to accelerate the repair and replacement of county bridges.
“The County Bridge Match Program builds on our work last year in delivering more roads funding to Nebraska’s counties,” said Governor Ricketts. “Bridges are a key part of building the 21st-century infrastructure that is helping to grow Nebraska. This program will encourage counties all across our state to address their infrastructure priorities in innovative and expeditious ways.”
At the news conference, NDOR Director Kyle Schneweis outlined the criteria for the match program. The selection process for the County Bridge Match Program requires NDOR to publish a Request for Proposals (RFP). The proposals will be selected by a committee using scoring criteria, including:
- cost or time savings
- sustainability or transferability of innovation
- long-term maintenance savings
- project significance/risk
Selected proposals will be announced within six weeks of closing of the RFP. Proposals for the County Bridge Match Program will compete within each of the five Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO) Districts, with selection based on the funding availability for each NACO District. Counties with a selected proposal will enter into an agreement with NDOR.
“We appreciate the work of the County Bridge Match Program working group in helping to develop these criteria,” said Director Schneweis. “The state has committed substantial resources for infrastructure improvement to local government partners over the past two years. Our bridge partners will continue to play an important role as we move forward with these much-needed improvements to our county bridges.”
In addition to the scoring criteria announced at the news conference, bridges must meet basic qualifications outlined in the TIA. To be eligible, bridges must be:
- structurally deficient as of August 16, 2016
- over 20 feet long
- located on a roadway classified as a local road or above in the State Functional Classification, with no minimum maintenance roads
- not previously advertised for bids for construction
The selection criteria were developed by the County Bridge Match Program working group. The twelve members of the group met four times over the spring and summer months to define the program criteria and guidelines. Members of the working group include:
- Dennis Wilson – Sarpy County Engineer and NDOR Innovation Task Force Member
- Steve Riehle – Hall County Engineer and President of the Nebraska Association of County Engineers, County Highway Superintendents and County Surveyors (an affiliate of NACO)
- Chris Jacobsen of Custer County, Steve Mika of Saunders County, Kevin Barta of Knox County, and Tim Ryan of Keith County – County Superintendents
- Larry Dix – NACO Executive Director
- Moe Jamshidi, Mark Traynowicz, Mick Syslo, Andy Cunningham and Larry Legg – NDOR Representatives
“This group has worked hard to come up with a no-nonsense approach for counties to apply for these critical funds,” said Nebraska Association of County Engineers President Steve Riehle. “We are all proud to be partners with the Governor’s Office and the Nebraska Department of Roads who have demonstrated a significant commitment to addressing our most important infrastructure needs at the local level.”
The County Bridge Match Program is one of three programs established by TIA. Other programs include the Accelerated State Highway Capital Improvement Program and the Economic Opportunity Program. TIA authorizes up to $40 million in funds from the Transportation Infrastructure Bank to be used for the County Bridge Match Program, which ends in 2023.