Funds sought for rail compact dues

The Appropriations Committee heard testimony Feb. 13 on a bill seeking funds to pay Nebraska’s rail compact dues.

LB891, introduced by Fullerton Sen. Annette Dubas, would appropriate funds to pay the state’s past due and current membership dues to the Midwest Passenger Rail Compact.

Dubas said Nebraska has not paid its annual $15,000 dues since 2009 but legally remains a member of the compact. The dues were eliminated from the state budget due to the economic downturn, she said, but continue to accrue whether Nebraska actively participates in the compact or not.

A negotiated amount to bring the state current on its dues was part of last session’s budget package, but was line-item vetoed by the governor. An override attempt by Dubas failed.

“So we are basically back to square one with no resolution,” Dubas said.

Milo Mumgaard of the city of Lincoln Mayor’s Office testified in support of the bill, saying the state should be involved in planning discussions regarding the growth of passenger rail.

“There is a tremendous amount of activity already going on in the Midwest region,” Mumgaard said.

No one testified in opposition and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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