Dear Economic Lifelines members:
The Kansas Legislature returned to session this week, making further progress on the budget and exploring options in writing a new school funding formula. For transportation, it was a very good week. The KDOT budget was accepted by the full House Appropriations Committee this morning. It contains an important provision allowing for a funding “bridge” to get T-WORKS more adequately funded and eventually completed.
The measure allows KDOT to bond up to $400 million over FY18 and FY19 to address declining transportation preservation dollars. We were heartened by the committee discussion as it indicates a majority of our state lawmakers understand the negative consequences of continuing to ignore maintenance needs in transportation.
We want to thank the appropriations committee for their support of restoring critical transportation funds that will maintain the system in its current condition. Understanding that these are not easy times, and tough solutions are the only options available, the members of the appropriations and the transportation and public safety budget committee are to be commended for their leadership and for keeping every option on the table as we look for solutions to honor and complete the T-WORKS promises.
Your great work with the committee really made a difference but we need our members now more than ever. Please continue talking with legislators in the house and senate to let them know how important preserving our system is during these times. Please urge them to support the proviso that sets out a bridge to T-WORKS completion. Take a minute to tell us about those conversations!
There’s positive momentum behind this proposal but there are still many steps in the budget process. As such, your continued engagement with lawmakers to support these additional funds is critical. Here’s the link to upcoming legislative town hall meetings. We’d certainly encourage active participation in these and any other community events where you know you can visit with your state legislator.
On the funding front, the Senate introduced a 5 cent motor fuels increase and the House has introduced an 11 cent increase in motor fuel taxes. We’ll keep you posted as hearings on these measures are schedule.
Thanks again for your advocacy for transportation!
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