Gov. Kelly Signs Bipartisan Transportation Plan
Joe Denoyer - April 3, 2020 7:35 pm
Governor Laura Kelly today signed the bipartisan Senate Bill 173 creating the new 10-year Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program.
“This fiscally responsible program provides a visionary approach so that Kansas has the flexibility to address immediate needs and secure more opportunities for our future,” Kelly said. “Investing in Kansas’ infrastructure means putting people to work. It means fixing our roads and bridges. It means safer transportation for our most precious cargo — our children.
“I commend the bipartisan work of our legislators for the overwhelming support and approval of this legislation. Its swift passage is important to help the Kansas economy recover when this public health pandemic passes,” the Governor said.
Key elements of the program include:
o Promises kept. All remaining T-WORKS projects will be let to construction by July 1, 2023.
o Highway preservation is prioritized. The legislation requires KDOT to establish metrics making sure highway preservation needs are fully funded before adding onto the highway system.
o Rolling program ensures emerging needs can be met. Instead of a once-a-decade, 10-year set list of projects, new modernization and expansion projects will be selected for the development pipeline every two years.
o Every region of the state will see modernization and expansion work sooner rather than later. The bill requires KDOT to develop minimum spending ranges for KDOT districts using a metric-driven process, and 40 percent of the minimum investments must occur within the first five years of the program. T-WORKS projects must be delivered and are not included in the minimums.
o Every Kansas county will receive at least $8 million in transportation improvements.
o Broadband and new technology investments are included to facilitate internet expansion and prepare Kansas infrastructure for improved safety and communication.
“Sincere thanks to legislators and Governor Kelly for quickly approving this legislation,” KDOT Secretary Julie Lorenz said. “We have a lot of work to do. Beyond identifying projects for the development pipeline to garner potential federal stimulus funds, we need to deliver projects faster and at the highest value for Kansas taxpayer dollars.”
Work began on this program in 2018 with the creation of the Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force.
“Including the Task Force and KDOT’s local consult discussions, 27 meetings were held across Kansas to gather input,” Sen. Carolyn McGinn, co-chair of the Task Force, said. “I want to thank the more than 2,000 Kansans whose input shaped a program that will create jobs, improve safety and protect our investments.”
KDOT is analyzing the bill, working on T-WORKS projects and will announce the addition of highway projects to the development pipeline soon.