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Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Transportation budget revives stalled projects

January 13, 2004

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— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday offered a plan to revive highway projects stalled when road dollars were diverted last year to pay for other cash-strapped state programs.

But the governor's plan relies on issuing $465 million in bonds in 2005.

Sebelius' $10.2 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year once again diverts sales tax revenue from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

That means more money would have to be borrowed to complete all the projects promised in 1999 when the Legislature adopted the $12.8 billion, 10-year Comprehensive Transportation Program.

Sebelius' budget director, Duane Goossen, said the proposal would "restructure the program to build all the projects."

Under Sebelius' bond proposal, the state would have to start repaying the debt on the bonds in 2006.

If approved by the Legislature, it would be the second time bonding authority was expanded to allow KDOT to make up for lawmakers transferring tax funds out of the agency to serve other purposes.

In 2001, the Legislature increased KDOT's bonding authority by $277 million.

The comprehensive transportation program pays for new roads, improvements and maintenance.

Lawmakers are expected to start reviewing the bond plan today.

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