Kansas lawmakers approve transportation funds

| 4/16/2004

A compromise bill intended to prevent cancellation of promised transportation projects cleared the Kansas Legislature April 2. It has been forwarded to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who is expected to sign it into law.

The measure authorizes bonds, federal funds and sales tax revenue to be used to shore up the state’s comprehensive transportation program, enacted in 1999.

Drafted by House-Senate negotiators, the bill would permit the state to issue up to $150 million in bonds then set aside $395 million in sales tax revenue over three years, The Dodge City Daily Globe reported.

Built into the proposal is an assumption that the state will receive $300 million in additional federal funds over six years. The measure authorizes an additional $60 million in bonds if federal funds fall short of expectations.

The bill would keep Kansas’ sales tax at 5.3 percent, rather than letting it dip to 5 percent in July 2006 as lawmakers had promised when they raised it in 2001 to help balance the budget.

Transportation Secretary Deb Miller has said if no bill passes this year, she would have to cancel $150 million worth of projects this summer and an additional $100 million each year into 2008.