A list of highway projects limited by budget cuts and funding uncertainties has been announced by Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller for the next three years. Also announced were five additional projects that will be put into the initial stages of development.
The list includes $336 million in projects in Fiscal Year 2010, which began July 1; $312 million in 2011; and $270 million in 2012. Those numbers fall far short of the $650 million-a-year average spending during the Comprehensive Transportation Program (CTP) and well below the $415 million annual investment the Governor’s transportation task force – T-LINK – determined was necessary just to preserve the state’s highway system.
“The truth is, that level of funding simply doesn’t meet the needs of our system and, if fiscal conditions continue to worsen, our short list of projects could get even shorter,” said Secretary Miller.
The 2010-12 funding will allow the agency to do approximately 40 preservation projects, such as bridge replacement or pavement reconstruction/rehabilitation, as well as maintenance work, such as resurfacing and bridge repair. The maintenance projects are selected on an annual basis.
In 2010, more than half of the funding will be spent on approximately 300 maintenance projects. The list of those projects is still being finalized. And, some of the 2010 funding will be spent on the final phases of a couple projects started under the 10-year CTP, which officially expired June 30. Those projects are the expansion of U.S. 59 in Douglas County and the expansion of U.S. 54 in Kingman County.
Since May, KDOT’s budget has been trimmed by $55 million. Add to that the revenue adjustments to the State Highway Fund during the legislative session and the total hit to KDOT’s 2010 budget is $161 million.
Making the budget picture even cloudier is the impending cash shortfall in the federal Highway Trust Fund, from which KDOT receives a large part of its revenue. If Congress doesn’t act to fix the fund, KDOT will receive $285 million less than the $357 it received in fiscal year 2009, forcing deep cuts in the work planned.
“Because the nation’s financial crisis won’t last forever, and because it can take years to get a project to the actual construction stage, we plan to begin the initial planning phase for five projects,” said Secretary Miller.
“These projects will go into the development pipeline with other projects for which planning is already under way. But, I want to be clear that there are no construction funds for these projects at this time.”
The projects include the four-lane expansion of U.S. 69 from Fort Scott to Arma; an interchange linking K-10 and 15th Street at Lawrence; a U.S. 54 freeway at Greensburg; passing lanes on U.S. 50 from Emporia to Hutchinson; and reconstruction of K-7 north of Columbus.