Kansas governor wants road money to balance budget

| 1/17/2003

Kansas’ new governor, Kathleen Sebelius, has proposed using highway funds to help balance the state’s budget, according to media reports.

Sebelius, during her state of the state address Jan. 15, announced her budget plan, which includes a proposal to cut the state’s 10-year, $13.5 billion highway program by roughly $165 million. Along with cuts made under the previous governor, Bill Graves, the plan would lower the highway program by $260 million over two budget years – about 2 percent of the total program.

Sebelius and other state officials said the plan would slow work on roads throughout the state. However, the new governor still wants to eventually complete all projects contained in the 10-year plan.

But the reduction in spending on roads would not end there. The proposed budget also calls for shifting the cost of the Highway Patrol to the road fund, further biting into transportation money. The fund will provide $13.1 million to the highway patrol in fiscal year 2003 and $31 million in fiscal year 2004, according to the governor’s budget proposal.

Sebelius’ budget does not call for any new major taxes, and leaves education programs in the state uncut.