Kansas Senate gives OK to highway cuts

| 2/6/2003

The proposed Kansas state budget, which would withhold $95 million from highway projects, won tentative approval from the state's Senate today, The Associated Press reported Feb. 5.

During her state of the state address Jan. 15, newly elected Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius announced her budget plan, which then included a proposal to cut the state's 10-year, $13.5 billion highway program by roughly $165 million to help balance the state's budget. The proposed budget also calls for shifting the cost of the Highway Patrol to the road fund.

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 – according to media reports.

However, soon after that, the state's transportation secretary, Deb Miller, told The Topeka Capital-Journal that increased motor fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees passed last year in Kansas should make up for any cuts in highway funding.

The Senate version of the budget includes a deficit, The AP reported; the House passed a version that balances the budget and requires Kansas to pay back the highway funds by 2005.