Kansas Legislature finishes transportation spending plan
March 20, 2020
Kansas state lawmakers raced this week to get business done before they break due to coronavirus concerns. One leading issue being addressed in their final hours at the statehouse is approval of Gov. Laura Kelly’s 10-year transportation plan.
The state finished a 10-year plan one year ago that focused on improving and maintaining the transportation system. During that time, however, transportation funds were rerouted to help fill holes in other budgets.
Kelly has said more than $2 billion has been transferred over the past decade.
“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.
Dubbed “Forward” by the governor, the $10 billion plan would allot $5 billion over 10 years for maintenance work.
Projects would be chosen every two years, instead of each decade under the existing plan. The Kansas Department of Transportation would select the projects that would get attention.
A portion – 16.1% – of the state’s 6.5% sales tax would also be deposited in the state’s highway account. Additionally, each county would receive at least $8 million.
“Forward will provide better service through helping communities solve more transportation problems by utilizing all of Kansas DOT’s resources,” said KDOT Secretary Julie Lorenz.
Senate lawmakers voted 37-2 this week to advance the bill, SB173, renamed the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program. House lawmakers approved it by a 112-3 vote. The bill’s next stop is the governor’s desk.
The Legislature was scheduled to be in session until April 3 before taking a break and wrapping up the legislative year in early May. At this time, lawmakers are scheduled to return to the capital on April 27.
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