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Archive for Friday, January 20, 2006

Lawmaker not keen on leasing turnpike

January 20, 2006

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— An idea to privatize the Kansas Turnpike may have already hit its first road block: the Kansas House GOP leadership.

During an online chat Thursday on the Journal-World's Web site, Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, said House Republican leaders weren't embracing the idea. Two of the country's largest banking firms have suggested that the state lease the 236-mile highway to generate more revenue.

Several questioners asked Sloan what he thought of the idea during the chat, with one questioner calling it a "stealth tax" on turnpike users.

Sloan said that before signing on to the chat, he had been at a meeting with other House committee chairmen.

"There is no strong support for the proposal," he said.

"I currently do not support the sale of the turnpike to private interests," he said. "The Turnpike Authority could accept the bankers' proposal, but are not likely to do so without strong support from legislators and the governor."

To read the entire chat and see a post-chat video interview, go to www.ljworld.com.

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