A House panel decided to restore Governor Sam Brownback's request to use millions of dollars from the Kansas Department of Transportation to fill gaps in other state spending, which reverses a decision made last week.
The governor wants to take $724 million dollars from transportation projects.
Last week, the House Transportation Budget Committee voted to reduce that amount by $280 million dollars, allowing about $444 million to be transferred during fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
Kansas Secretary of Transportation Mike King is asking lawmakers not to touch one of KDOT’s funding sources.
Lawmakers will be looking for ways to fill a budget gap, and the money could be attractive. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, four-tenths of a percent of the state sales tax goes to KDOT for road projects.
Secretary King says the sales tax funding is a steady source of income, which is important when they’re borrowing money.
The Kansas Department of Transportation has awarded nearly $18 million to 35 projects around the state through its transportation enhancement program.
Transportation Enhancement is a federally funded program that provides cities, counties, and other groups with funding for transportation projects like bike paths, pedestrian traffic, bicycle safety education, historic restoration, scenic highway programs, and the conversion of abandoned railroad lines into trails, among other things.
A limited merger of the Kansas Turnpike Authority and the Kansas Department of Transportation recently passed the House, but leaders in the Kansas Senate may be interested in something a bit more comprehensive.