There is growing anxiety and concern among local communities in our state regarding the transfer of earmarked transportation funds (over $1 billion in FY 2016 & 2017 alone) to fill holes in the state budget. And while some have pointed out that the surface condition of our Kansas roads are in good shape, many do not believe this will continue to be the situation if these huge transfers continue.
Kansas roads have received high marks as a direct result of significant investments in our state’s transportation system, dating back to 1989 when the Comprehensive Highway Program was passed. That was followed by the Comprehensive Transportation program in 1999 and finally with the passage of T-WORKS in 2010. But now, with the legislature and governor having taken fully one-third of KDOT’s income in FY 16 & 17, they have begun to reduce T-WORK’s scope. If the legislature and governor continue these highway transfers, KDOT will have no choice but to continue reducing the scope of their work and the overall condition of the highway system will decline.
However differently individuals might characterize the current Kansas economy, everyone agrees that the current condition of the state highway system positively influences the economy. Conversely, if the system condition is allowed to drop to the minimum targets, one can only assume a corresponding negative effect to the economy.
Kansans overwhelmingly support adequate funding for transportation. Recent polling shows a strong majority of Kansans asked believe the funds earmarked for transportation should be used for those purposes. Economic Lifelines strongly agrees!
Economic Lifelines is comprised of local businesses and organizations who support a vibrant economy through strong transportation programs. You can find out more at www.economiclifelines.com.