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Omaha Mayor talks roads, scooters at State of the City address

The speech focused on projects and accomplishments
Posted at 10:43 PM, Feb 28, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. — A plethora of topics including roads, scooters and even the Coronavirus were discussed Friday at Mayor Stothert's 2020 State of the City address.

"Earlier this month, I proposed and the City Council approved, a $200 million dollar bond issue that will appear on the May 12th primary ballot," Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said in her address.

This bond issue is something Stothert is excited about.
She says that the importance of having a long-term solution of fixing the roads can't be overstated.

"I think any person that lives and rides a car, or a bike, or a scooter, or whatever in Omaha already knows why it's important. The streets are not in good shape," she said.

Mayor Stothert and other council members say that if this ballot item is approved in May, it could help provide a Pavement Maintenance program and help fix deteriorating streets.
But, it's a decision the people need to vote on and make for themselves, especially because the initiative would increase property taxes.

"It's still up to the voters to decide if that's the direction that they want to go in in terms of addressing our streets," Council member Ben Gray said.

The mayor also touched on the $300 million dollar Riverfront Revitalization project.

"Work is well underway for the transformation of our riverfront with the new parks, green space, entertainment and recreation areas. This is one of the most significant projects in Omaha's history," she said.

She also gave updates on the new waste contract that goes into effect January, 2021.

"If you look across the country, everybody is moving towards an automated system and the covered carts. Those are going to be big changes for everybody," Mayor Stothert said.

As for electric scooters? The mayor says she will bring an ordinance to the council this spring on how to regulate them. That's if the city wants to keep them around at all.

"It was very hard to regulate. It was very hard for police to issue any citations. So we need the rules clear before we could ever consider having scooters," she said.

Other topics discussed were the Way to Work program that gives the homeless tools and services to get jobs, a new app that connects residents to local government and updates on transportation and the new bus system.

Stothert concluded her State of the City address by thanking Nebraska Medicine and UNMC for their work dealing with the Coronavirus.

"They're not only helping Omaha, they're not only helping the country. They're helping the whole world," Mayor Stothert said.