Bringing the Nebraska State Fair to Grand Island in 2010 would create a $64.5 million economic impact that would more than offset the community’s $8.5 million investment. That’s among the conclusions of a new economic impact analysis by the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce. According to the analysis, the proposed $40 million construction is expected to employ 565 people.
The indirect and induced impacts — the spin-off effects — are projected to add 142 and 197 jobs, respectively, primarily in food service, health care, architectural and engineering services, and employment support. Overall, the total impact from the construction and site development will result in 904 additional jobs in Hall County.
A petition drive aimed at keeping the State Fair in Lincoln has failed to gather the signatures needed to put the issue on the November ballot. FairVoteNebraska.com announced Wednesday morning it had failed to gather the signatures necessary to get a referendum on the November ballot. The group is seeking to repeal LB1116, a new state law that moves the fair to Grand Island and clears the way for the University of Nebraska to build a research and development campus on the grounds. To make the November ballot, the group needed to get 60,000 valid signatures from 5% of registered voters in 38 counties.
The needs of the Nebraska Department of Roads continue to be many despite a decrease in state funds. Craig Lind, Nebraska Dept. of Roads District 5 engineer, told the Gering Business Club on Wednesday that creative solutions are needed to deal with the demands for road repairs or new highways when there continues to be less money available for such projects. Lind said the way Nebraska taxes and supports highway construction will probably have to change because of the use of fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles and those that use alternative fuels.
Nebraska roads projects are funded, in part, with proceeds from fuel taxes, and that money has continued to decline as motorists drive fewer miles because of increased fuel costs. Lind said in fiscal year 2008, the district would have about $18.2 million in funding available for projects, and projections indicate that number might be cut to $12 million in fiscal year 2009.
With increases across the board for materials and other fixed costs, not as much work can be done as in the past. The cost of asphalt, for example, has increased from $120 a ton to $470 a ton.