Kansas OKs new transportation spending plan

May 2020

Keith Goble

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Gov. Laura Kelly signed into law a new 10-year, $10 billion transportation plan.

Kansas state lawmakers raced to approve the transportation plan in March before they took a break because of concern about the coronavirus.

Out with the old

The state wrapped up a 10-year plan one year ago that focused on improving and maintaining the transportation system. During the past decade, however, transportation funds were rerouted to help fill holes in other budgets.

Kelly has said more than $2 billion was transferred from transportation over that time.

“To press forward, we must close the ‘Bank of KDOT’ – and make sure that funding for transportation is spent on transportation,” Kelly said in previous remarks.

In with the new

Dubbed the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, the new plan allots $5 billion over 10 years for maintenance work. Projects left incomplete under the old plan will be first in line for completion.

The new deal, SB173, requires the Kansas Department of Transportation to “establish metrics to make sure highway preservation needs are fully funded” before adding onto the highway system.

Projects will be chosen every two years, instead of each decade under the plan that is ending. The Kansas DOT will select the projects to get attention.

Of the state’s 6.5% sales tax, 16.1% of the collected tax will be deposited in the state’s highway account. Additionally, each county will receive at least $8 million.

Kelly praised the Legislature for acting swiftly to get a deal done before they left the capitol due to COVID-19 concerns.

“Its swift passage is important to help the Kansas economy recover when this public health pandemic passes.”

KDOT will announce highway projects to get attention once the incomplete projects are wrapped up.

Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz said her agency has a lot of work to do.

“Beyond identifying projects for the development pipeline to garner potential federal stimulus funds, we need to deliver projects faster and at the highest value for Kansas taxpayer dollars,” she said. LL

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.