Nebraska is built for connections with a centralized location that includes nine major airports and over 300 miles of inland waterways. The state has the infrastructure network, programs, and economic development support in place to assist businesses looking to expand or relocate to the state.
Several of the nation’s leading transportation companies are located in the state which is one of the busiest rail corridors in North America. Two of the Nation’s top 10 trucking companies, Werner Enterprises and Crete Carrier Corporation, are headquartered in Nebraska. Deliveries can reach 90 percent of the U.S. population within two days via truck.
Nebraska is a state that combines affordability, opportunity and an environment primed for growth, and the cost of doing business in Nebraska is eight percent below the national average, and we are a right-to-work state. The state is ranked as one of America’s Top 10 States for Business year-in and year-out.
Another key advantage for companies in Nebraska is it is the only state served 100% by publicly-owned utilities; such as municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, or public power districts. There are no stockholders and thus no profit motive. That means Nebraska’s utilities can focus exclusively on keeping electric rates low and customer service high. The result is Nebraskans pay some of the lowest electric rates in the nation year after year. The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) also works with local, regional and state economic development organizations to position communities and regions for economic growth, to assist with the expansion and retention of existing industry, and to attract new businesses.
At the start of the year the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) announced the certification of two Inland Port Authorities in the state, one of which is located just outside Hershey in Lincoln County, at a site served by Dawson Public Power District, a wholesale customer of Nebraska Public Power District.
The Hershey Rail Park is a 300-acre site optioned by the North Platte Chamber and Development Corporation. It is located two miles north of Interstate 80, directly along U.S. Highway 30. Union Pacific railroad runs adjacent to the site and with a new spur can easily serve any industry located there.
The Municipal Inland Port Authority Act is intended to stimulate the Nebraska economy by incentivizing the development of new industrial hubs and providing the economic development tools necessary to acquire and develop large commercial and industrial shovel-ready sites. Nebraska’s inland port districts are intended to serve as regional merging points for multi-modal transportation and the distribution of goods. Under the Act, an inland port authority may plan, facilitate, and develop its inland port district in conjunction with a city, county, and other public and private entities.
The designation will let raw materials and finished products from or bound for foreign markets go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection checks at the Hershey rail park as opposed to when they enter or exit the country at coastal ports.
Lincoln County, with access to major roadways as well as the Union Pacific Railroad’s Bailey Yard, the world’s largest rail-classification yard, is positioned to be incredibly appealing to industrial businesses.
Nebraska has witnessed significant economic development activities in 2023, with a focus on job creation, investment, and revitalizing local communities, especially in North and South Omaha. The state has launched several major projects and initiatives, utilizing various funding sources, including state funds and private investments.
Incentive Programs for Job Creation and Investment
Nebraska’s economic growth strategy in 2023 was bolstered by programs like the Advantage Act and the ImagiNE Act. These programs offer tax incentives to a diverse range of businesses, encouraging investments and job creation across sectors such as data centers, corporate headquarters, and manufacturing. For instance, 50 companies committed to creating 2,481 jobs and investing $1.55 billion as part of these programs. The largest of these investments included Mutual of Omaha’s new headquarters in downtown Omaha, with a projected investment of $473 million and the creation of 100 new jobs. Other significant commitments were made by companies like Clean Harbors, Perfect Day Inc., and Novozymes, contributing significantly to the state’s economic landscape.
Shovel-Ready Funding Awards
The State of Nebraska’s shovel-ready grant program, overseen by DED, has awarded $115 million to support capital projects delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The program is funded with $100 million through the federal American Rescue Plan Act and $15 million from the state’s general fund.
The Shovel-Ready program was approved for additional funding from the State General Fund during the 2023 Legislative Session and signed into law by Governor Jim Pillen. The funding assists qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations with capital projects that were delayed due to COVID-19 or that will provide a positive economic impact in the State of Nebraska.
Economic Recovery Act for North and South Omaha
The Economic Recovery Act, designed to revitalize North and South Omaha, played a crucial role in 2023. This act led to the selection of 35 grant-winning projects out of 367 proposals, aiming to induce long-lasting economic growth and transformation in low-income areas. The projects, totaling roughly $225 million in grants, ranged from community development projects to infrastructure improvements. Notable projects included the Sankofa Innovation District and a $40 million grant for redevelopment in North Omaha, along with several ventures in South Omaha involving health, job training, social services, and housing.
North Omaha Business Park Development
A significant project in North Omaha involved the City of Omaha’s plan to purchase land for the development of an industrial business park. This project aimed to bring hundreds of jobs to one of the state’s most economically disadvantaged areas. The Nebraska Legislature set aside $90 million for this initiative under the Economic Recovery Act, highlighting the state’s commitment to revitalizing distressed neighborhoods.
Nebraska’s economic development efforts in 2023 were diverse, targeting not only business growth and job creation but also community revitalization and infrastructure development. The state’s strategy involved significant financial commitments, innovative incentive programs, and a focus on areas in need of economic recovery, particularly in North and South Omaha. These projects collectively represent a concerted effort to enhance Nebraska’s economic landscape and address long-standing social and economic challenges.
Living the Good Life in the silicon prairie is easy. Nebraska ranks lower than the national average on housing, utilities, transportation, and health costs. We boast state-of-the-art healthcare and lower-than-average medical bills. Whether you’re searching for wide-open spaces or bustling urban areas, Nebraska has something to offer.