Our Streets

Lincoln, we believe what you believe: That a safe transportation network is critical to a thriving community. That’s why your Public Works and Utilities Department is on a mission to deliver drivable streets, walkable sidewalks and efficient traffic systems.

We are investing more on transportation than ever before! Since 2010, the Department has invested in 90 miles of improved arterials, 10.3 miles of added arterial capacity, 632 blocks of rehabilitated residential roads and 70 miles of repaired sidewalks. In 2017, we will build on those numbers with a plan to improve 10.3 miles of arterial streets and 424 blocks of residential, while adding 2.6 miles of arterial capacity and repairing 6.4 miles of sidewalks.

Because of your $1 dollar per day investment in transportation:

  • 94% of your arterial streets are rated fair to excellent.
  • Your commute is 31% shorter than the national average.
  • You are 14% less likely to be in a crash.
  • Your auto insurance costs are lower than the national average.
  • Your neighborhood sidewalks and school routes are more walkable and accessible than ever before.
  • Your transportation network contributes to economic prosperity, low unemployment and a high quality of life.

The Public Works and Utilities Department is dedicated to making streets safer and more efficient at the lowest possible cost to you!

Average Monthly Household Expenses

For an average monthly household investment of $34, you get a safe and efficient transportation system. Compare that investment to an average cell phone bill.

Budget Breakdown

These two pie charts represent the current revenues and expenses to support our entire transportation network which consists of: 2,760 lane miles of streets, 1,500 miles of sidewalks, 68 bridges, 430 traffic signals, and 45,000 traffic control signs. As a single lane road, our streets would stretch from Lincoln to the Equator. Our sidewalks would go from Lincoln to Hollywood. Due to Lincoln’s continued growth and prosperity, the City has grown from 25.54 square miles in 1958 when the wheel tax was enacted, to 92.74 square miles in 2015. That’s a 265% increase in 57 years! As Lincoln has grown, the number of transportation assets we manage has also grown, and that system needs our support and reinvestment.

Total — $55 million

Revenues (in millions)

* Includes $2.9 Million of re-appropriation
** General Funds for winter operations, drainage and traffic operations

Expenses (in millions)

* On-Going programs include sidewalk repairs, traffic operations, safety programs, intersection improvements, development reviews, pursuit of economic opportunities, municipal code required records and maps.

Federal, State and Local Revenue Sources

In addition to managing Lincoln’s growth, we are challenged by two other things: entropy and economics. While we think that concrete, asphalt and steel will last forever, they are actually entropic and break down over time. Naturally, street systems built in the 1950s, 60s and 70s have aged to the point of needing reinvestment. Nebraska’s climate is also hard on streets. Freeze/thaw cycles and extreme temperature ranges cause continual pressure on the transportation system.

Playing against those natural factors are economics. In the past, the primary source of funds for the nation’s streets was the federal gas tax. But, as this graph shows, the federal gas tax has been frozen for more than 20 years! In fact, our federal gas tax allocation has only increased $46,000 over the last decade, while construction inflation keeps increasing an average of 5% per year. As a result, we’ve had to take matters into our own hands with local and state initiatives that have been a tremendous help in closing the transportation gap. Thank you for your support, Lincoln!

Approximate Revenue Growth