The condition of Kansas highways could be improving. For years, highway funding has taken a backseat to other pressing state budget needs.
Governor Kelly made another push for her budget today, this time focusing on how money would be returned to Kansas Department of Transportation and delays on certain highway construction projects would come to an end.
The 2020 budget would allow KDOT to keep 160 million dollars.
“In the last half decade we’ve had to make a lot of cuts and so we’ve had to take money from transportation and we’re starting to see that wear and tear out there now,” said Carolyn McGinn, a Republican state senator from Sedgwick who also chairs the Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force.
She said the issues should be fixed.
“Now that we’re a little more healthier, it’s time for those dollars to be used for what they’re intended,” said McGinn.
Some of the money would focus on previously planned projects like Highway 50 in Lyon county and Highway 169 in Anderson county.
“The governor’s budget is a great step forward for transportation and will allow us to move forward with some of the delayed T-WORKS projects and get more money into preservation so we can strengthen our highway system,” said Kansas Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz.
“It’s not enough money but it gets us started,” she continued.
The plan also addresses normal road maintenance as well as other projects like local bridge improvements, an enhanced safety program, and a new cost-share program with local governments.
“To be clear we still have a long way to go in order to get our transportation system to where we want it to be,” said Governor Kelly.
“Not only are there more transportation projects and services that will need funding but we must also address KDOT staff shortages,” she said.
The plan could still change though if the legislature doesn’t approve the governor’s budget. You can find more on the governor’s plans here.