A bill intended to spur commercial economic development passed final reading May 19.
LB156, introduced by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, allows up to five inland port authorities to be established in Nebraska. An inland port authority may be established in a metropolitan, primary or first class city or a county with a population greater than 20,000.
A qualifying city and one or more counties that contain a qualifying city — or in which the extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction of such city is located — may form a joint inland port authority.
To be eligible, an inland port site must be at least 300 acres in area and meet two of the following criteria of being within:
• one mile of a navigable river or waterway;
• one mile of a major rail line;
• two miles of a major airport; or
• two miles of any federal interstate or any four-lane divided highway.
An inland port authority is authorized to engage in marketing activities, issue and sell revenue bonds and acquire rights-of-way and property. All authorities established under the bill will be administered by an appointed governing board.
The bill prohibits inland port authorities from levying sales taxes and states legislative intent to transfer $5 million in general funds for the next two fiscal years to the Site and Building Development Fund to be earmarked for large, shovel-ready inland port authority projects.
Senators passed LB156 on a 47-0 vote.