KDOT

Doug Kerr, flickr Creative Commons

Lobbyists for Kansas highway contractors are urging state lawmakers to increase the gas tax, but it’s proving to be a tough sell.

Forced to deal with massive budget problems in recent years, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and lawmakers have diverted billions of dollars from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Dennis Wright isn’t alone.

He’s one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Kansas residents and public officials waiting for the state to solve its money problems so that dozens of highway projects that have been indefinitely delayed can get going again.

Kansas News Service/File

Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is hoping the federal government can rescue several critical infrastructure projects that the state can no longer afford.

Matthew Hodapp / KCUR

In what could be a blow to the road construction industry in Kansas, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) on Tuesday said it will only spend $44 million on new projects in the next fiscal year.

For the past several years KDOT has let about $400 million just on preservation projects, including roads and bridges.

Matthew Hodapp / KCUR

Ten more road projects in Kansas have been postponed indefinitely. That’s in addition to the 24 that were put on hold last month.

“Yesterday we were informed that the 18 projects that were scheduled to be let in January, KDOT has reduced that down to eight,” says Bob Totten with the Kansas Contractors Association.

KDOT Opens Bids On Politically Important Project

Oct 20, 2016
Andy Marso / KHI News Service

The Kansas Department of Transportation opened bids Wednesday on a highway project that is key to legislative races in southeast Kansas.

The project would expand U.S. Highway 69 from two lanes to four between Kansas City and Pittsburg — something residents of that part of southeast Kansas say is essential for safe movement of people and goods.

Five companies bid between $20 million and $23 million on a contract for the first stage of the project in Bourbon County.

John Russell, flickr Creative Commons

A new law allows the Kansas Department of Transportation to erect highway signs as memorials to the victims of drunk driving.

The Kyle Thornburg and Kylie Jobe Believe Act, named after a young couple who lost their lives in 2011 on I-70, requires the secretary of transportation to design a memorial sign containing the names and ages of victims of drugs or alcohol accidents.

Doug Kerr, flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Sam Brownback’s three options for balancing the state budget include taking about $185 million from the highway fund.

As a result, the Kansas Department of Transportation is holding off on 25 major projects, including two in Reno and Harvey counties.

Fourteen projects will be delayed in fiscal year 2017 at an estimated construction cost of $271 million; 9 projects are on hold in the fiscal year 2018 at an estimated construction cost of $247 million; and two projects are on hold in fiscal year 2019 at an estimated construction cost of $35 million.

Doug Kerr / Flickr Creative Commons

The new Kansas revenue forecast, set to be released next week, could ultimately affect Kansas highways and bridges as well as the crews who build and maintain them.

It’s widely expected the state’s revenue projection will be lowered. Bob Totten, with the Kansas Contractors Association, says there's a chance additional money could be taken from the highway fund to help fill the budget gap.

“We might see $50 million taken away after the revenue estimates are released April 20th. It could go a little higher than that,” Totten says.

Kansas House will take a final vote to merge KDOT with KTA; Kansas lawmakers begin talks on a bill that allows corporate farming; Mindstorms challenge encourages STEM education.

Kan. House To Take Final Vote On Turnpike Measure

The Kansas House has given first-round approval to a limited merger between the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority, which manages the state's 236-mile toll road.

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