A new law in Kansas partially merges the Kansas Turnpike Authority into the state Department of Transportation.
Gov. Sam Brownback signed the bill into law on Friday, April 19, saying that it will “produce consistency and savings in the operation of Kansas highways.” It takes effect on July 1.
Previously HB2234, the new law puts the KDOT secretary in charge of the state Turnpike Authority. Responsibilities will include serving as KTA’s director of operations and daily administration of the 236-mile toll road.
Critics say the switch is a political maneuver. KDOT Secretary Mike King was appointed by the Republican governor. He will take over responsibility of the Turnpike Authority from Michael Johnston, a former Democratic lawmaker.
The deal is expected to save the state of Kansas $30 million over two years, according to state figures.
“While there will still be two transportation agencies in Kansas, this new law sets up a new structure that will improve efficiency and reduce the duplication of resources and efforts that now exist in the operation of the state’s highway systems,” Brownback said in prepared remarks.
A provision included in the law prohibits any turnpike toll revenue from being used for anything other than KTA projects.
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