SLT support gaps

There are some notable exceptions to the officials and groups who have voiced their support for moving ahead on the South Lawrence Trafficway.

A recent Journal-World news story told of U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts’ efforts to get engineering and construction of the South Lawrence Trafficway started as soon as possible.

Roberts enlisted the support and endorsement of fellow Sen. Sam Brownback and U.S. Reps. Jim Ryun, Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt. The only holdout in the Kansas congressional delegation was Rep. Dennis Moore.

The news story noted that others who have supported the badly needed trafficway include the Douglas County Commission, the K-10 Assn., the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas State University, the city of Tonganoxie, the city of Overland Park, the city of Lenexa, the Olathe Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Association of Realtors.

It is interesting to note Kansas University apparently has not voiced its support for the road even though K-State has given its backing to the trafficway, which Roberts has described as Kansas’ “high-tech trafficway” from Kansas City to Manhattan.

It’s too bad KU officials have been reluctant to give their enthusiastic support for this southern Lawrence bypass considering that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the 32nd Street route in 2001 with the provision that the Baker Wetlands would be enlarged. Federal Highway Administration officials also have said they want to adopt the Corps study but, at the same time, are accepting public comments on the project.

This silence from KU is puzzling and disappointing. This is particularly true considering the emphasis KU officials place on the importance of KU’s connections to Kansas City and the need for better and closer ties between various Kansas City operations and KU’s Lawrence campus.

The city is fortunate to have the enthusiastic backing and efforts of Sen. Roberts, and it is unfortunate KU does not give equal endorsement of the road. It also is disappointing that Lawrence city commissioners are divided in their support.

How long will it take for construction to be started on the trafficway, and how many more millions will be added to the price tag for the project compared to what it originally was estimated to cost? It is almost criminal what the various delays and delay tactics have cost taxpayers.