Nebraska wants counties to take over state's last gravel highways

| 3/23/2005

Truckers pay taxes all the time to keep highways across America paved and in good repair. And they generally assume that their money is paying for the highways and interstates they use.

But in the plains of Nebraska, tax dollars paid by truckers and others are helping maintain an entirely different type of road – the roughly 44 miles of the state highway system that are still paved with gravel.

The state wants to shift the gravel roads out of the state highway system and move responsibility for their maintenance to the counties where they’re located, the Lincoln Journal Star reported recently. But the counties are not happy about the idea of inheriting that much financial responsibility.

The state spends about $3,000 to $4,000 a year keeping the roads in good condition, the newspaper reported. And if they are turned over to the counties, the state will pay to upgrade them before the transfer takes place.

The State Highway Commission announced recently it plans to take up the issue at a meeting scheduled for Friday, March 25. The meeting will take place at 10 a.m. in Room 103 at the Nebraska Department of Roads’ Central Headquarters in Lincoln. The meeting is open to the public.