Economic Lifelines

Economic Lifelines Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- November 9, 2015

CONTACT: Mandy Roe (620)0365-0562 or economiclifelines@gmail.com

Economic Lifelines warn additional transportation cuts will lead to "Road Closed" markings on projects and maintenance

TOPEKA- Legislators serving on the state's budget committee were warned today that further transfers/cuts from the state's transportation department will result in scheduled projects not being completed and leave thousands of miles of roadway without maintenance.

Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, said those dire predictions stem from discussions with Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King at meetings during the 2015 legislative session.  Friday's announcement of an additional $50 million in KDOT cuts only make this fear more pronounced, according to coalition leaders.

"Since this highway program was launched in 2011, KDOT has seen $2.1 billion taken from its budget," stated Economic Lifelines Chief Executive Officer Michael Johnston.  "That's nearly one fourth of the entire program diverted for other purposes.  What has been used as a short-term fix to the state general fund deficit is turning into a long-term disaster for our state highways.  Clearly, taking an additional $50 million is making a bad situation even worse and as such, we're asking lawmakers to reject the cuts."

T-WORKS, the state's 10 year, $8 billion transportation plan, is funded primarily by a 4/10 cent sales tax and is set to deliver major new improvement projects throughout the state which includes an $8 million minimum investment in every Kansas county.  According to KDOT, transfers out of the highway fund include $1.394 billion in extraordinary transfers and $730 million defined as historical transfers.

"The Department of Transportation has been asked to do the impossible-- find ways to operate without 25 percent of its budget while still delivering all of the components of the T-WORKS program and maintaining our roads and bridges," said Johnston.  "These transfers are unsustainable and further cuts will result in dire consequences to public safety and jeopardize the investment Kansas taxpayers have made to the state's infrastructure."

Budget cuts have already resulted in nearly $300 million in maintenance projects postponed and Secretary King stated last year; further cuts or transfers would result in projects not being completed.  During Friday's announcement, Secretary of Revenue Shawn Sullivan noted that these cuts would cause a delay in preservation programs intended to prevent major repairs in the future. 

"We urge all policymakers to reject proposals to further raid transportation coffers in an effort to fund other state agencies," said Johnston.

Johnston, a former KDOT Secretary, said the equivalent of $1 million per day has been taken from the state's transportation agency for the past several years and that preliminary budget submissions show this trend continuing in both FY 2016 and FY 2017.


Economic Lifelines Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- October 20, 2015

CONTACT: Mandy Roe (620-365-0562) or economiclifelines@gmail.com

Economic Lifelines announces new Chief Executive

TOPEKA-- Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, today announced Michael Johnston has been slected as their new Chief Executive Officer.

A former state senator from Parsons, Michael Johnston served 14 years in the Kansas Senate, including service as a legislative leader.  He went on to serve as a cabinet secretary, leading the Kansas Department of Transportation.  He also served as President and CEO of the Kansas Turnpike from 1995-2013.

"I'm excited about being chosen to lead the effort and equally pleased Capitol Strategies will continue to work with our lobbying effort and Strategic Communications of Kansas will continue to manage our communication needs," said Johnston.  "For decades, Economic Lifelines has led efforts to support the implementation and funding of our state's comprehensive transportation programs.  Now more than ever, it is vital that we protect the commitments made to Kansas communities and help them growth through the economic impact of T-WORKS and all transportation programs."

T-WORKS, the state's 10 year, $8 billion transportation plan, has proven to be a vital program for all areas of the state, creating needed jobs, spurring economic development and ensuring safety on Kansas roads.  Since its passage, over $2.1 billion has been diverted from transportation to fund other areas of the budget.  The transfers have resulted in nearly $300 million in postponed maintenance projects.

"As the state continues to face budget challenges, Michael's expertise and stature will help us as we fight to protect T-WORKS and transportation dollars," said Johnnie Koger, Economic Lifelines Co-Chair.  "His background in both the legislative and executive branches of government gives him an important perspective in preserving the important investment in our state's transportation infrastructure."


Economic Lifelines Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- July 30, 2015

CONTACT: Michelle Butler (785-233-1903)

Economic Lifelines responds to additional transfers from transportation

TOPEKA-- Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, strongly opposes an additional $8 million transfer from KDOT announced today by Shawn Sullivan, Kansas Budget Director. Today's amount is on top of more than $300 million approved cuts through the normal legislative process completed last month.

"Year after year, the state takes from the highway fund to balance the budget.  Enough is enough," Johnnie Koger, Co-Chair of Economic Lifelines, said.  "When T-WORKS was passed, so was a revenue package to fund the program.  That money has continually been swept into other areas of the budget as a detriment to T-WORKS."

Since its passage and with this transfer, over $2.1 billion has been diverted from transportation to fund other areas of the budget, which has already resulted in nearly $300 million in postponed maintenance projects.

"During the legislative session, lawmakers were told that any additional funds transferred from KDOT would result in projects not being completed," Koger said.  "The continuation of these transfers expedites the deterioration of Kansas roads and the postponed projects only increase the cost to Kansas drivers."

T-WORKS, the state's 10 year, $8 billion transportation plan, has proven to be a vital program for all areas of the state, creating needed jobs, spurring economic development and ensuring safety on Kansas roads.


Economic Lifelines Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- May 7, 2015

CONTACT: Michelle Butler 785- 233-1903

Economic Lifelines calls on legislature to keep promise to fund T-WORKS

TOPEKA-- Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, has adopted a resolution calling on policy makers to honor their commitment to fund the T-WORKS Program as provided in the original legislation.  Recognizing that there is a significant budget deficit and a number of tax and revenue proposals being considered by the 2015 Kansas Legislature, the Economic Lifelines Board unanimously adopted a resolution in support of T-WORKS and its current funding structure.

Whearas, Economic Lifelines has successfully advocated for Kansas transportation programs for over 25 years.  The advocacy helped secure passage of necessary funding by the Legislature for T-WORKS, the state's 10 year, $8.2 billion transportation program and includes ensuring taxpayer-provided transportation funds are used for their intended purpose.

Wherease, Economic Lifelines joins the 95 percent of Kansans who support T-WORKS and consider it a top priority in the Kansas budget.  Economic Lifelines opposes all efforts to reduce funding for transportation or change the finance formula for T-WORKS, including the 4/10 cent sales tax dedicated to the program.

Whereas, Economic Lifelines believes any new funding available to the Kansas Department of Transportation should be used for any projects postponed as a result of budget cuts, and not used to allow further transfers from the highway fund.

Whereas, the state must stop relying on transportation-dedicated funding to balance the state's budget.  Economic Lifelines believes that the State Highway Fund's unstable ending balance in FY 2017 must be addressed to assure long-term stability to the program.

Be it resolved that the Board of Directors for Economic Lifelines reiterates its support for the T-WORKS program and restoration of the funds that have been diverted and opposition to any further transfer of funds or changes to the statutory funding provisions approved to complete the 10 year program.

"There is no money left in the Highway Fund for another short term budget fix," said Johnnie Koger, Co-Chair of Economic Lifelines. "It is time the Legislature provides a fix to the structural imbalance in the state's budget. Kansas communities need the long-term stability these transportation investments provide to help them attract new business, create jobs and grow the Kansas economy."

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Economic Lifelines Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- April 6, 2015

CONTACT: Mandy Miller 620-365-0562

Poll shows overwhelming support for T-WORKS

TOPEKA- Kansans believe T-WORKS, the state's 10 year, $8.2 billion transportation program, should be a top priority in the Kansas budget, according to a poll released today.  

In a random sample of five hundred likely voters in the state of Kansas, 95 percent believe T-WORKS should be fully funded by the Kansas Legislature with 69 percent opposing the diversion of transportation funds to pay for budget shortfalls.

T-WORKS was passed 2010 with the bulk of funding coming from a 4/10 cent sales tax that lawmakers continue to transfer to other areas of the budget to the tune of $2.1 billion through fiscal year 2017. 

"This poll shows what we have long believed, that Kansans support a first rate transportation system and they expect their tax dollars to be used transparently for the purpose in which they were intended," said Johnnie Koger, Co-Chair of Economic Lifelines.  "The highway funds are being drained at a rate of just over $1 million per day in the current fiscal year and proposed budget for the next two years.' 

T-WORKS has proven to be a vital program for all areas of the state, creating needed jobs in what has been a slow growing Kansas economy and providing infrastructure needed to allow economic development. The program was designed to deliver projects throughout the state, make travel safer, and return more than $10 billion to the Kansas economy.

The poll was conducted March 5-10, 2015 by The Kitchens Group, Orlando, Fla. The margin of error for this survey is a +/- 4.4 percent with a 95 percent confidence level. 

Methodology


Economic Lifelines Update- February 27th

The Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Safety voted to approve the Governor's recommendation for FY 16 and FY 17 which transfers $100M out of KDOT in both years.  The full Senate Committee is scheduled to take up the recommendation on Wednesday.

The Legislature has reached the half way point in the session, "Turnaround." Lawmakers will be back in their districts curing the break and we encourage everybody to talk with them about the importance of T-WORKS to your community, attend one of the town halls listed below or use this link to send them a letter.

February 28, 2015- Newton- Charlie's Restaurant (9:00-10:30 a.m.) Hutchinson- Wesley Towers (9:30-11:00 a.m.) Jetmore- King Center (10:00 a.m.)

March 2, 2015- Liberal- The Depot (11:30 a.m.)

March 7, 2015- Overland Park- Double Tree by Hilton (7:30-9:00 a.m.) Dodge City- High Plains Journal (10-11 a.m.) Fowler- Senior Center (11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.) Protection- Don's Restaurant (1:45-2:45 p.m.)

March 21, 2015- Newton- Charlie's Restaurant (9:00-10:30 a.m.) Garden City- Classroom B at St. Catherine Hospital (10 a.m.)

March 28, 2015- Overland Park- Double Tree by Hilton (7:30-9:00 a.m.) Manhattan- Sunset Zoo Education Building (7:30 a.m.) Hutchinson- HCC Shears Technology Center (9:30-11:00 a.m.)

April 18, 2015- Overland Park- Double Tree by Hilton (7:30- 9 a.m.) Garden City- Classroom B at St. Catherine Hospital (10 a.m.)

April 25, 2015- Manhattan- Manhattan Train Depot (7:30 a.m.)

Economic Lifelines is partnering with the Kansas Contractors Association to host a Transportation Day at the Capitol on March 12th!  We hope you will plan to attend the free lunch and help us rally support for transportation.  Please reply to the Kansas Contractors or Economic Lifelines so we have the correct count for lunch!


Economic Lifelines testimony in opposition to SB 35

Economic Lifelines is the statewide coalition of organizations and community groups which have provided the grassroots support for Comprehensive Transportation Programs in Kansas over the past 30 years.  Our members understand that economic development and jobs generated by Comprehensive Transportation Programs are vital to the stability and growth of the Kansas economy and our communities.

In 2010, this legislature, with overwhelming support from all areas of our state, enacted T-WORKS, the state's 10 year, $8 billion transportation plan, funded primarily by a 4/10 cent sales tax.  T-WORKS is delivering major new improvement projects throughout the state, making travel safer, and stimulating the Kansas economy.  Since it's inception more than $600 million dollars has been diverted from KDOT to shore up areas of the general fund budget.  If we continue down this pat of diverting T-WORKS funds to meet general fund shortfalls, there will be significant detrimental impacts, including lower job creation and higher costs to maintain the road network vital to our farms and businesses.

Economic Lifelines is opposed to the proposed Rescission Legislation, SB 35, which would divert over $150 million dollars from T-WORKS to fill part of the current fiscal year's budget hole.  We believe that further transfers jeopardize the completion of T-WORKS as it was developed and promised to Kansas communities.  Major projects in FY 2017, Fy 2018 and FY 2019 are at risk as are projects necessary to preserve our roads at a level Kansans expect.

T-WORKS projects are vital as they support the infrastructure needed to allow economic development.  Kansas communities are counting on this program which pledged at least $8 million in improvements for every county.  T-WORKS is a proven program for all areas of the state, supporting 175,000 jobs over the life of the program.  Cuts to transportation work at cross purposes with economic development opportunities for all Kansas businesses and ultimately affect safety on our highways.

We urge you to support T-WORKS and the many benefits it provides and look forward to working with you to protect the transportation projects vital to local communities and the Kansas economy.


Economic Lifelines responds to proposed transportation cuts

TOPEKA-- Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, expressed opposition to the announced diversion of an additional $95 million dollars from T-WORKS to fill the current fiscal year's budget hole and any future diversions to meet general fund shortfalls.  T-WORKS, the state's 10 year, $8 billion transportation plan, has proven to be a vital program for all areas of the state, creating need jobs in what has been a slow growing Kansas economy.  T-WORKS was passed by the 2010 Legislature and more than $600 million has been diverted since its inception.

"While we have received assurance from the Administration that the proposed $95 million diversion will not affect already announced projects in FY 2015 and FY 2016, we are opposed to any transfers that jeopardize critically important road maintenance work and kill plans for future projects," said Johnnie Koger, Co-Chair of Economic Lifelines.

Economic Lifelines shares in the vision of Governor Brownback to grow jobs in Kansas.  One of the key pillars of the T-WORKS program is the jobs it creates - 175,000 over the life of the program.  Cuts to transportation jeopardize economic development opportunities for all Kansas businesses and affect safety on our highways.  The proposal to cut from transportation is counterproductive to the Governor's goal of growing our economy.

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Economic Lifelines survey shows overwhelming support for T-WORKS

TOPEKA— Economic Lifelines, the state’s leading transportation coalition, reports strong support among legislative candidates for the state’s comprehensive transportation program (T-WORKS).  The organization surveyed candidates for the Kansas House of Representatives and found the overwhelming majority support T-WORKS, its funding formula and oppose diverting funds from the 10-year program.

“We felt it was important to engage lawmakers and legislative candidates as revenue projections put strong pressure on the budget,” said Michelle Butler, Economic Lifelines Executive Director.  “Protecting the dedicated revenue source of 4/10 cent sales tax is crucial to delivering T-WORKS for all 105 counties.”

Those responding to the survey include 21 incumbent lawmakers and 36 candidates seeking office.  They join 22 legislators who have a Pro-T-WORKS voting records. Determination of those lawmakers was based on the following votes: S Sub HB 2360- 1 cent sales tax (2010), S Sub HB 2650- T-WORKS (2010) and H Sub SB 84- Peck Amendment to divert .4 cent sales tax to SGF (2013).

“It is clear that legislative candidates understand the importance of T-WORKS, the value it brings to Kansas and the impact it has on local communities,” said Butler.  “Kansas communities are counting on these transportation projects that create jobs and boost economic vitality.”

T-WORKS is a 10 year, $8.2 billion transportation program passed during the 2010 Legislative Session. T-WORKS is set to deliver 37 major new improvement projects throughout the state, make travel safer, and return more than $10 billion to the Kansas economy. In addition to improving access to markets and making the state more competitive, T-WORKS provides an estimated 175,000 construction and supplier jobs over the life of the program.

We encourage our entire membership and all Kansans interested in transportation issues to take the time to find out the position of their local candidates regarding T-WORKS.

Click here for a full list of survey results and legislative voting records.

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Economic Lifelines Update- September 26, 2014

The Kansas Turnpike Authority and the Kansas Department of Transportation are hosting a ribbon cutting for the first co-located KDOT/KTA facility.  Please consider attending the event on October 16, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the KDOT/KTA Field Office (4200 W US Highway 50, Emporia, Kansas).

We continue to monitor state revenues and budget projections as the 2015 legislative session nears.  The Kansas Department of Transportation submitted their budget request to the Governor in mid-September.  Following that, they were asked to further evaluate efficiency.

Kansas Division of Budget tells agencies to evaluate efficiency

The Kansas Policy Institute, a free market think tank, released a five-year State Budget Plan.  They propose to balance the budget and do so with no service reductions by taking approximately $1 Billion out of KDOT over five fiscal years including an additional $90 million in the current approved 2015 budget.  There is no way T-WORKS can be delivered under this proposal.

KPI Five-Year Budget

Continuing a dialogue with lawmakers and legislative candidates about the positive impact of T-WORKS is the best way we can protect the funding stream and the projects that will help grow Kansas.

This week, the Kansas Department of Transportation kicked off their series of local consult meetings across the state.  The Kansas City session was very well attended by transportation advocates and we hope the future sessions will be as well.

Click here to pre-register for one of the upcoming sessions.

September 29- Garden City (9 a.m.- 12 p.m. at Clarion 1911 E Kansas Ave, Garden City, KS)

September 30- Hutchinson (9 a.m.- 12 p.m. at Ramada 1400 Lorraine, Hutchinson, KS)

October 1- Wichita (9a.m.-12 p.m. at WSU Metroplex, 5015 E 29th Street North, Wichita, KS)

October 6- Chanute (1-4 p.m. at KDOT Complex, 411 W 14th, Chanute, KS)

October 7- Topeka (9 a.m.- 12 p.m. at KDOT Eisenhower Office Building, 700 SW Harrison, Topeka, KS)

October 14- Hays (9 a.m.- 12 p.m. at KHP Conference Room 1821 W Frontier Rd, Hays, KS)

October 15- Salina (9 a.m.- 12 p.m. KHP Training Center, 2025 E. Iron Ave, Salina, KS)

The Kansas Contractors Association launched a new statewide push to protect highway funding and educate elected officials about the benefits of good roads.  For more information about the effort, please visit www.savekansasroads.org

Here is the latest news coverage on their campaign.

http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/Highway-money-not-going-for-highways-277005621.html


Economic Lifelines Update- June 2, 2014

Lawmakers adjourned Sine Die Friday, May 30th. The day was more of a ceremonial end of session as little work was completed. As adjournment came, so did news that Kansas tax collections were $217 million lower than expected for May.

Kansas tax collections fell $217M short in May

Economic Lifelines will continue to monitor state revenues and their potential impact on the State Highway Fund or the T-WORKS program.

Legislative Retirements: Following the deadline for filing for legislative office, there are a number of legislators who will not be returning next year.  They include: Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, Rep. Ward Cassidy, R- St. Francis, Rep. Marshall Christmann, R-Lyons, Rep. David Crum, R-Augusta, Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, Rep. Shanti Gandhi, R- Topeka, Rep. Jim Howell, R- Derby, Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, Rep. Kelly Meigs, R-Lenexa, Rep. Emily Perry, D- Overland Park, Rep. Reid Petty, R- Liberal, Sen. Clark Shultz, R-McPherson, and Rep. Vern Swanson, R-Clay Center.

Today marked the filing deadline for candidates to be on the ballots this fall.  With a number of legislators not returning, it is more important than ever that you continue a dialogue with lawmakers about the importance of T-WORKS to your community.  As the election cycle begins, please help educate all candidates on the positive impact transportation projects have on the Kansas economy and what they mean to Kansas communities.  Click here for a list of projects in your area.

Highway Trust Fund: The federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is anticipated to encounter a shortfall as early as this summer.  While some states are being forced to take drastic measures such as cancelling projects and halting project designs, Kansas is fortunate to have additional revenue sources. 

Should the HTF not be shored up with other revenues, Kansas would be able to continue to complete T-WORKS projects as planned in the short-term for a few months. 

However, federal funding does constitute nearly a quarter of T-WORKS overall revenue, approximately $345 million annually and it is an essential component to completing the T-WORKS projects as planned.

Please take a moment to send a quick note to members of the federal delegation.  It is important we bring this issue to their attention and ask them to take action on this issue.

T-WORKS Delivers!

T-WORKS delivers for Cherokee County! US-166/US-400 improvements from State line, approximately 3 miles in Cherokee County will expand the corridor, improving access to I-44 in Missouri and US-400.  The improvements will allow safer travel and add capacity for additional development. #ksleg #transportation #tworks

T-WORKS delivers for Johnson County! US-69 Improvements from I-435 to 119th St. in Johnson County is the next pahse of the needed expansion of this corridor and Overland Park's top priority!  Overland Park contributed funding for project development and construction. #ksleg #transportation #tworks

T-WORKS delivers for Geary County!  The US-77 project will enhance capacity and safety by making specific intersection and added capacity improvements.  The close proximity to Fort Riley has created needs for the increased traffic traveling in this area. #ksleg #transportation #tworks

If you have a transportation success story from your community, please email it to us at economiclifelines@gmail.com and we will share it with our membership!

Economic Lifelines Update- March 28th, 2014

Lawmakers worked through a number of bills this week in anticipation of next week's first adjournment.  Below are the approved Transportation bills:

Bills headed to Conference Committee

H Sub for SB 273- motor vehicles; relating to commercial vehicles (Passed 122-1)

SB 344- traffic; concerning motor carriers, special permits; oversized loads (Passed 122-1)

Bills headed to Governor Brownback

SB 351- motor vehicles; relating to VIN numbers; penalties (Passed 123-0)

HB 2727- accessible parking; relating to special license plates and permanent placards; expiration (Passed 40-0)

Bills pending motions to Concur/Nonconcur

Sub HB 2424- roads and highways; designating Bob Bethell interchange; SGT David Enzbrenner memorial highway; Pack St. Clair highway; ancient Indian traders trail; Harper county veterans memorial highway; Bonnie Huey memorial highway; Bonnie Sharp interchange (Passed 40-0) 

Sub HB 2451- motor vehicles; electric vehicles, registration fees (Passed 38-2) 

Sub HB 2452- motor vehicles; relating to distinctive license plates; donate life; disabled veterans; rotary international; armed forces and Kansas horse council license plates; motorcycles (Passed 39-0) 

S Sub for HB 2693- motor vehicles; relating to drivers licenses; commercial vehicle, skills test (Passed 40-0) 

HB 2728- motor vehicles; salvage titles; permits, number of copies (Passed 40-0)

Next week, lawmakers will continue negotiations in conference committees and focus on a school finance proposal to address the concerns outlined in the Gannon v. State decision.  We will closely monitor those discussions and report any possible impact to T-WORKS.

A Message from the Secretary

The Kansas Department of Transportation is proud to be in the fourth year of the Transportation Works for Kansas (T-WORKS) program. The agency is looking forward to the letting and completion of all of the projects programed under T-WORKS. Thank you for your continued partnership and support.

During state fiscal years 2011-2013, KDOT let approximately $483 million of modernization and expansion projects. During fiscal year 2014, KDOT has already let $437 million of modernization and expansion projects, with more lettings planned before the end of the year. 

As one of our valued transportation stakeholders, you know how important transportation is to our state. In the short-term, transportation projects create jobs for construction workers and spread dollars to hundreds of local businesses. And in the long-term, good transportation provides the infrastructure that allows businesses to expand or locate in Kansas. The two largest T-WORKS projects are now in their early construction phases - the $288 million Johnson County Gateway and the $130 million South Lawrence Trafficway. The economic impact of these two projects alone will be in the billions of dollars.

Some of you may be following national news reports about the solvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) - the source of nearly a quarter (23 percent) of T-WORKS funding. Some experts are predicting the fund could be out of money as early as July.  KDOT could continue T-WORKS projects in the short-term if federal funding is delayed, but the long-term loss of federal funds would most definitely impact the $8 billion T-WORKS program. KDOT analysts and leaders are closely monitoring both the short- and long-term solvency of the HTF. 

While we at KDOT are doing all we can to prepare for a potential federal funding shortfall, we are committed to continuing the dialogue with our federal colleagues about the best solutions for Kansas. We encourage you as transportation supporters to continue to advocate for long-term funding solutions at the federal level.

Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King

Save the Date! Over the next several months, communities will be hosting legislators for Eggs and Issue type events where they will provide legislative updates.  It is important that legislators hear a strong, consistent message about the importance of transportation projects to their communities.

March

29th- Manhattan at 7:30 a.m. (Manhattan Zoo Education Center)

29th- Hutchinson at 9:30 a.m. (Mennonite Friendship Communities)

April

19th- Overland Park at 7:30 a.m. (DoubleTree By Hilton)

19th-  Garden City at 10:00 a.m. (St. Catherine Hospital Classroom B)

26th- Newton at 9:00 a.m. (Charlie's Restaurant)

May

3rd- Manhattan at 7:30 a.m. (Manhattan Zoo Education Center)

17th- Salina at 8:30 a.m. (Salina Chamber's Visit Salina Annex)

17th- Garden City at 10:00 a.m. (TBD)

Economic Lifelines has also been working on a social media campaign (Facebook & Twitter) to make known the many ways in which transportation projects have positively impacted Kansas communities.  Watch for new stories every Tuesday and be sure to like, share or retweet them!  Find us on Facebook by searching Economic Lifelines and on Twitter by searching @EconLifelinesKS

Here is the story we shared this week:

Kansas Communities play a large role in shaping transportation programs.  This story demonstrates how communities come together to prioritize projects that will economically benefit the area as a whole.  The road construction on K-61 from Medora to McPherson, Kansas has had a major impact on the surrounding communities. It has improved safety and enhanced the economy in the surrounding areas of Hutchinson, Inman, Medora, McPherson, and Buhler. It has made traveling to these cities easier and more convenient.

"In 1995, we convened a group of community and elected officials from around the region, including Hutchinson, Reno County, McPherson, McPherson County and Inman, in anticipation of a 1999 highway program," Daveline said. "We talked about identifying what the next corridor priority should be. Wee looked at the Northwest Passage, going through Nickerson to Lyons, but agreed K-61 should be the priority.


"In the history of Hutchinson, this will go down as one of the biggest accomplishments for the community," said Jon Daveline, who was president of the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce at the time. #ksleg #transportation

If you have a transportation success story from your community, please email it to us at economiclifelines@gmail.com and we will share it with our membership!  Click the icons below to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Economic Lifelines Update- December 20, 2013

Transportation plays a key role in growing our state's economy and providing the needed infrastructure to Kansas businesses.  We are working hard to share that message in order to help protect transportation funds in the upcoming session.  Please continue talking with your legislators about your support for transportation prior to the start of the legislative session on January 13th.

Secretary of Commerce Pat George was recently quoted in a local news story talking about how crucial transportation infrastructure is to attracting new businesses

Commerce Secretary: More new Kansas jobs on the way

http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/Commerce-Seceretary-More-new-Kansas-jobs-on-the-way-235346461.html

Companies are also attracted by Kansas' transportation infrastructure and educated workforce, Secretary Pat George said.

"Our infrastructure is great," he said.  "We have great highways, our school system, our workforce, especially in manufacturing and advanced manufacturing."

Economic Lifelines has also been working on a social media campaign (Facebook & Twitter) to make known the many ways in which transportation projects have positively impacted Kansas communities.  Watch for new stories every Tuesday and be sure to like, share or retweet them!  Find us on Facebook by searching Economic Lifelines and on Twitter by searching @EconLifelinesKS

Here are some of the stories we have shared so far:

McCarty Family Farms recently constructed a milk processing facility outside of Rexford along US Highway 83. This $19M facility supplies processed milk to the Dannon Corporation's yogurt production facility in Texas. To promote safe, efficient and reliable truck shipments the company needed to pave 1/4 mile of CR 31, which prior to reconstruction was nothing more than a narrow gravel road. In spring of 2011, Kansas Department of Transportation awarded Thomas County $328K to reconstruct CR 31 to modern standards - complete with concrete pavement.

S 75 Hwy became an economic catalyst when the 4-lane bypass connected Hwy 75 to I-470. Topeka now has 2 industrial parks next to S Hwy 75. This highway connection was critical to attracting @Target Distribution Center, @HomeDepot Distribution Center, @bimbobakery_job and the soon to open Mars North America to those industrial parks. #ksleg #transportation

If you have a transportation success story from your community, please email it to us at economiclifelines@gmail.com and we will share it with our membership!

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season and safe travels!

Michelle Butler


Economic Lifelines Update- July 18, 2013

We wanted to make you aware of the upcoming summit on transportation hosted by Governor Brownback and Secretary of Transportation Mike King.  It will take place on September 5, 2013 in Emporia, Kansas.

The Governor's Future of Kansas Transportation Summit will be focused on identifying innovative private-sector ideas and solutions that the transportation officials can then apply to public-sector issues.  There will be an opportunity for attendees to be on the ground in development of new strategies and insights for transportation policies and investments that will help residents and businesses create the economic vitality and quality of life Kansans want.

It is important that the transportation industry be well represented at this event.  We encourage you to save the date and plan to attend.  We will provide additional information when it becomes available.


Economic Lifelines Update- July 2, 2013

Today the Wichita Eagle printed an article about the quality of Kansas roads compared to others in the nation.  The Reason Foundation, a libertarian research group did a study based on 11 factors including spending, pavement conditions and highway deaths and ranked Kansas highways number two in quality and cost-effectiveness.  According to the study, Kansas roads are second only to North Dakota roads.

We are proud that Kansas is being recognized for its quality infrastructure.  The investment in Kansas roads will help drive economic development in the state. The article is below.

Kansas highways rank No. 2 in quality, cost-effectiveness, report finds

http://www.kansas.com/2013/07/02/2872345/kansas-highways-rank-no-2-in-quality.html

Other articles on the same topic include:

Investing in Roads

http://hutchnews.com/Editorials/highway-edit

State must maintain road system's reputation

http://cjonline.com/opinion/2013-07-07/editorial-state-must-maintain-road-systems-reputation


Economic Lifelines Update- June 25, 2013

You may have seen or heard about how the bridges in the country are in bad shape.  Her are some articles we saw last evening on this subject.  We see it here in Kansas but this is a nationwide problem and reminds us all that a sufficient transportation program must be passed next year.

http://t4america.org/blog/2013/06/19/one-in-9-bridges-still-structurally-deficient-as-average-age-nears-50-years/

If you don't want to read about how much it would cost to fix this problem, you can click on this link and jsut listen and watch the video report from NBC.

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/52257935/

Economic Lifelines applauds KS Legislature for Preserving Jobs, Economic Development Via T-WORKS

TOPEKA- Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, expresses appreciation to members of the Kansas Legislature for their continued commitment to fund the comprehensive transportation program (T-WORKS.) Earlier this year, the organization called on legislators to preserve the 4/10 cent sales tax revenue dedicated to the T-WORKS program.

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Economic Lifelines Update- February 15, 2013

Hearing on HB 2136

Many thanks to those who testified or submitted written testimony in opposition to HB 2136, to divert the 4/10 sales tax dedicated to KDOT to the State General Fund.  There were 24 opponents in all and only one proponent, Representative Virgil Peck, R-Tyro.  Many members appear to find the option of taking the 4/10 for SGF more appealing than retaining the 6/10 sales tax increase.  If they don't take the full 4/10, it could be  possilbe that they promote taking a portion of the dedicated amount.  If your representative is a member of the House Taxation Committee, please let them know of your opposition to this bill.  Should this bill pass, it is highly unlikely future T-WORKS projects will be completed after 2014.

The following are on the House Tax Committee.

Richard Carlson, R- St Marys (Chair)     richard.carlson@house.ks.gov                        (785) 296-7660

Scott Schwab, R-Olathe (Vice-Chair)     scott.schwab@house.ks.gov                            (785) 296-7501

Steve Brunk, R- Wichita                         steve.brunk@house.ks.gov                              (785) 296-7645

J.R. Claeys, R-Salina                              jrclaeys@house.ks.gov                                   (785) 296-7670

Travis Couture-Lovelady, R- Palco        travis.couture-lovelady@house.ks.gov             (785) 296-4683

Ken Corbet, R-Topeka                           ken.corbet@house.ks.gov                                (785) 296-7679

John Edmonds, R-Great Bend               john.edmonds@house.ks.gov                           (785) 296-5593

Mario Goico, R- Wichita                         mario.goico@house.ks.gov                               (785) 296-7663

Dennis Hedke, R- Wichita                     dennis.hedke@house.ks.gov                             (785) 296-7699

Don Hineman, R- Dighton                     don.hineman@house.ks.gov                              (785) 296-7636

Kasha Kelley, R- Arkansas City             kasha.kelley@house.ks.gov                               (785) 296-7671

Marvin Kleeb, R- Overland Park            marvin.kleeb@house.ks.gov                              (785) 296-7680

Jerry Lunn, R- Overland Park                jerry.lunn@house.ks.gov                                   (785) 296-7675

Charles Macheers, R-Shawnee             charles.macheers@house.ks.gov                      (785) 296-7675

Joshua Powell, R-Topeka                      joshua.powell@house.ks.gov                             (785) 296-7674

Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe                      arlen.siegfreid@house.ks.gov                            (785) 296- 0715

James Todd, R-Overland Park              james.todd@house.ks.gov                                  (785) 296-7695

Tom Sawyer, D- Wichita (Ranking Minority)     tom.sawyer@house.ks.gov                        (785) 296- 7691

Nile Dillmore, D- Wichita                       nile.dillmore@house.ks.gov                                  (785) 296-7698

Julie Menghini, D- Pittsburg                  julie.menghini@house.ks.gov                               (785) 296- 7691

Pat Sloop, D- Wichita                           patricia.sloop@house.ks.gov                                (785) 296- 7646

Virgil Weigel, D- Topeka                       virgil.weigel@house.ks.gov                                   (785) 296- 7366

Kathy Wolfe Moore, D- Kansas City     kathy.wolfemoore@house.ks.gov                          (785) 296- 7688

Heard at the Hearing:

"HB 2136 would reduce KDOT's anticipated revenues by $1.5 billion over the course of the program.  Put simply, KDOT will not be able to deliver the projects that Kansas communities are depending on." Secretary Mike King, KDOT

"We were dismayed to see this bill introduced because we understand that its passage would decimate all T-WORKS projects to be 'let' after 2014, including the Gateway Project in Johnson County." Jennifer Bruning, V.P. Government Affairs, Overland Park Chamber of Commerce

"Infrastructure investment also increases our states' competitiveness by allowing us to more efficiently and safely transport goods and materials.  A solid infrastructure base is tremendously important to businesses when deciding where to locate." Rick Worrel, American Council of Engineering companies of Kansas

"Diverting dedicated money away from the original intent of the law only makes the public cynical about the legislative process." Charlie Sedlock, Hamm, Inc.

"The State must stop relying on transportation-dedicated funding as a readily available source of funds.  By diverting the 4/10 cent from the transportation program, you are in essence, breaking a promise to the Kansas taxpayer and putting an end to the T-WORKS program." Johnnie Koger, Co-Chair Economic Lifelines

"If the state's indebtedness were to be further downgraded, it would cause the cost of borrowing to go up significantly for the State and all local Kansas governments." Robert Vancrum, Greater Kansas City Chamber

"The loss of the transportation program would adversely impact our cities and hamper their ability to grow." Larry Baer, League of Kansas Municipalities

"I find it interesting that everyone talks about jobs being their top priority but this proposed legislation is a jobs killer.  Why would you want to reduce the amount of jobs in Kansas when it appears everyone else is wanting to attract jobs to the State?" Bob Totten, Kansas Contractors Association

Message from the House Transportation Chairman

"I look forward to working with Economic Lifelines this year.  Being a newly appointed Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, I have much to learn and I welcome your suggestions and comments.  Please feel free to contact my office at any time, 785-296-7639." Rep. Rich Proehl, Chairman, House Transportation Committee


Economic Lifelines Update- February 1, 2013

At the Capitol

On Monday of this week, Rep. Virgil Peck (R-Tyro) went before the House Taxation committee and requested two bill introductions, one redirecting the dedicated 4/10 of a cent sales tax from KDOT to the State General Fund and the other to discontinue the $4 vehicle modernization surcharge, which after January 1, 2013, would go to the state transportation fund.  The sales tax redirection bill was referred to the House Tax committee and the surcharge bill was referred to the Transportation and Public Safety Budget Committee, of which Rep. Peck is the Chairman.

On Thursday, of this week, KDOT Secretary King went before the House Transportation and Public Safety Budget committee to give them an overview of funding sources and expenditures.

Links to the Bills

HB 2136

HB 2137

Board News

Economic Lifelines released our statement on Tuesday with a few added sentences regarding Rep. Peck's proposal to redirect the 4/10 cent tax increase intended for KDOT to the State General Fund.  It read: "we are adamantly opposed to the dedicated 4/10 being diverted to the State General Fund and will work with the Administration in opposing this effort.  As the Governor has stated, economic activity and job creation are the best solutions for a budget shortfall and the jobs created by the T-WORKS program are, in fact, driving the economy."  Read the rest of the statement in the press release below.

Economic Lifelines Day at the Capitol- Tuesday, February 12th

In light of the recent bill introductions, it is vitally important we have a good turnout on the 12th!  We will start off the day with a briefing from both the House and Senate Transportation Chairs starting at 7:45 a.m. at 212 SW 8th Street, 2nd Floor.  We will have talking points for everyone as well as office location information for those in attendance.  People can attend this briefing and then meet with their Representatives and Senators.  The Senate Transportation Committee meets at 8:30 a.m., in room 546-S of the Capitol, you may want to attend.  There will be a lunch at the Topeka Country Club, 2700 SW Buchanan Street, over the noon hour.  After lunch, the House Transportation Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. in Room 582-N of the Capitol.  Please let us know if you are planning to attend.

Transportation in the News

Editorial: Keep hands off Bank of KDOT

Highway coalition opposes shifting sales tax money away from roads

Critics caution against governor's plan to merge Kansas Turnpike, transportation department

Peck proposes to redirect KDOT sales tax to general fund


Economic Lifelines calls on legislature to keep promise to fund T-WORKS

TOPEKA- Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, has adopted a resolution calling on policymakers to honor their commitment to fund the T-WORKS Program as outlined in the original legislation.  Recognizing that a number of tax and revenue proposals have been introduced by the 2013 Kansas Legislature, the Economic Lifelines Board unanimously adopted a resolution in support of T-WORKS and its current funding structure.

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Economic Lifelines Hires New Executive Director

TOPEKA -- Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, today announced that Michelle Butler, of Capitol Strategies, would become the group's new Executive Director.  The well-known firm of Capitol Strategies will remain their lobbying team.

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Economic Lifelines Bulletin: KDOT Announces 2013-2014 T-WORKS Statewide Projects

Today, Secretary Mike King announced more than 430 projects scheduled for the 2013-2014 fiscal years.  Of those, 225 are highway projects and 209 are bridges/interchanges.  These projects will result in improvements to 1,600 miles of Kansas roadways.  KDOT estimates these projects to cost $1.1 billion.

Specific projects highlighted for the next two years include the reconstruction of the expansion to six lanes of U.S. 54/Kellogg Avenue in Wichita, the South Lawrence Trafficway and the Johnson County Gateway interchange at the K-10/I-435/I-35 junction.

Secretary King reiterated his commitment to the full implementation of T-WORKS saying, "These projects have an important role to play in the state's economic recovery and that's why Governor Brownback included implementation of T-WORKS in his Road Map for Kansas."