Kansas governor approves transportation funds

| Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius April 15 signed a bill to prevent cancellation of promised state transportation projects.

The new law, which takes effect July 1, authorizes bonds, federal funds and sales tax revenue to be used to shore up the state’s comprehensive transportation program, enacted in 1999.

It permits the state to issue up to $150 million in bonds immediately then set aside $395 million in sales tax revenue over three years, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

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

The new law ensures Kansas’ sales tax will remain 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 had said that if no bill passed this year, she would have to cancel $150 million worth of projects this summer and an additional $100 million each year into 2008.

Miller told the newspaper she is optimistic the state can now fulfill its transportation promises.

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