Kansas Department of Transportation

John Russell, flickr Creative Commons

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.

Stephen Koranda

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.

Kansas lawmakers may dip into highway funding to help balance the state's budget. As Stephen Koranda reports, the state Senate's top budget write say transportation money could help fill the gap.

Andover Republican Senator Ty Masterson chairs the Ways and Means Committee. He says transportation is a big expense to the state and Kansas has already built a healthy system.

"Pulling back to a point of preservation, and not this aggressive expansion, wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. And it wouldn't be prolonged," says Masterson.

The Kansas Department of Transportation is planning $1.2 billion in improvements to the state's highways, bridges and other projects.

Kansas Secretary of Transportation Mike King announced the plan Thursday for fiscal years 2015 and 2016.

The largest projects are a $116 million expansion of the Interstate 235/US 54 Highway interchange in west Wichita, and a $95 million expansion of Kellogg in east Wichita.

The Kansas Department of Transportation is warning political candidates that the agency’s crews will remove campaign signs found alongside the state’s highways.

The department notes that Kansas law prohibits campaign signs and billboards on a highway right-of-way. The law allows only guide, warning or regulatory signs in those spaces.

The reminder of the rule comes as campaigning ramps up before the state’s Aug. 5 primary.

The Kansas Department of Transportation says the winter season of 2014 was its most expensive in years.

The department spent about $22 million dollars to keep state highways open for travel during the rough winter weather.

That's the most the department's had to spend since the winter of 2008, when it spent nearly 24 million dollars.

This year's numbers won't be finalized until the end of the fiscal year.

Kansas Department of Transportation officials are reporting a drop in the number of traffic fatalities in 2013 to the lowest number since statistics were first kept in 1947.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment

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.

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