Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More tolls may be down the road

March 14, 2007


K-10 leading candidate for next toll road

I-70 may not be the only toll road linking Lawrence and Kansas City in the future. Enlarge video

— Motorists who complain about tolls on the Kansas Turnpike may have more to complain about in a couple of years.

The Kansas Department of Transportation is working on a long-range transportation plan for the state.

And a component of that plan may be to put tolls on other roads, officials said Tuesday.

"Tolling on other roads will be an element seriously considered," said Patrick Hurley, chief lobbyist for Economic Lifelines, which was instrumental in getting approvalof the state's current transportation plan in 1999.

He spoke Tuesday during a Senate committee meeting dealing with a proposal by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to increase tolls on the Kansas Turnpike to help finance repairs at public universities.

Sebelius' proposal went nowhere with the Ways and Means Committee. Hurley was at the meeting to testify against the plan because, he said, toll revenues should be used only for transportation improvements.

The current $13 billion, 10-year transportation plan expires in 2008, and officials are laying the groundwork for a new plan.

The current plan has been funded through increases in the state fuel tax and massive borrowing.

Sensing the Legislature opposes further tax increases and is skittish about borrowing, Hurley said KDOT is exploring "innovative sources : in other states including tolling certain roads."

Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller confirmed that.

"As we look for funding sources for the next transportation program, without question we are going to explore any and all options," she said. "Transportation projects are expensive, they are extremely important to the economic health of the communities of this state, but they don't come easy."

Miller said other states are adding tolls to more roads to help finance highway improvements.

In the past, Hurley said the idea of imposing tolls on Kansas roads other than the turnpike had been avoided because there were few roads with enough traffic where tolls would provide enough incomefor ongoing maintenance.

One of the only roads in the state that did have enough traffic was Kansas Highway 10 between Lawrence and Johnson County, he said.

Miller said KDOT had done numerous studies, dating to the 1960s, on adding tolls to various highways. But, she said, she didn't think one had been done on K-10.

She said she would oppose simply adding a toll to an existing road unless improvements were made.

"It only makes sense in my mind when you're adding capacity," she said.

Adding tolls has become more popular in other states to avoid tax increases, she said, and because tolls can now be collected electronically without forcing motorists to stop and pay.

Miller said KDOT is scheduled to complete its long-range plan by the end of this year, but it probably won't be ready for legislative consideration until 2009.


craigers 11 years, 3 months ago

I'm no longer at a 0 for fed and state exemptions. Since we had a child this year, I changed it to 1.

craigers 11 years, 3 months ago

If they are going to put out more tolls then I expect to see our taxes decrease since our tax money goes to fix and improve the roads right now. This government of ours keeps running after more money in the pockets of the people. This is getting scary when they want more money from us when we already pay about 40% of our paychecks in income taxes, not to mention property taxes, sales tax, etc.

nut_case 11 years, 3 months ago

Amen craigers! Just one question - how do you get off paying only 40% ?!?

Time to curb government spending, not suck more money out of working men and women.

nbnozzy 11 years, 3 months ago

40% of your pay in income tax????? Hard to believe. Is that for more than one person? I pay about 28% initially and after doing the yearly paperwork required by the state and federal government, it goes down to 22% which is reasonable considering what all I am getting for my services..... ie, schools, roads, administrative govt, etc...

Bladerunner 11 years, 3 months ago

Pay the toll ....or get eaten by the troll!

oldvet 11 years, 3 months ago

You might think that you only pay 28% (or 22% or 15%) because of your income tax load that becomes very visible this time of year... be sure you have added your state load... then add your real estate taxes (even if you are renting, they are being paid by you), the tax on your vehicle, more gas tax when you fill it up and more in sales tax when you buy anything. Plus the extra tax load on your smokes and your favorite adult beverage. Then you open your utility and phone bills and see another bite. There are special excise taxes on just about anything they can come up with. Did you fly, stay in a hotel or rent a car? Check out those special taxes added. By the time we get done, I would bet the average citizen pays at least 50% of their income in taxes of one kind or another.

Jamesaust 11 years, 3 months ago

oldvet - Be sure to subtract out government services from your number (including a special "freedom from no weapons of mass destruction" bonus - it may be a trillon dollars in expense but I enjoy the peace of mind all day long).

number3of5 11 years, 3 months ago

oldvet---I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I sure can't afford to travel. I don't run up high utility bills or phone bills. I keep my expenses as low as possible except for my grocery bill. Our vehicle is mainly used for transportation to and from work. I even schedule Dr. appointments for a time when the vehicle has to be in town for other purposes. so I know that half of my income is not spent on taxes. I think that you must have a very low income and a lot of taxes on usless things if you spend half of what you bring in on taxes.

oldvet 11 years, 3 months ago

Good for you, number3... not smoking or drinking can increase your life expectancy...

Now run this drill and see where you really stand...

Divide your federal tax bill (line 63 on a 1040) by your Adjusted Gross income (line 38). That is your federal income tax load %. Then divide your Kansas tax bill (line 8 on a K-40) by your AGI, giving your Kansas tax load %. Then take all of your once-a-year taxes (real estate, car, etc., things that you own and get taxed on) and divide that total by your AGI to get another %. Now, for one month, keep every receipt you get for everything you purchase. Just toss them into a box starting tomorrow and do it until April 14th. But also keep a written log of everything you pay cash on but don't get a receipt for (vending machine, kids lunch, etc.), since the tax is coming out of that also, it just doesn't show. Also, keep track of every gallon of gas you purchase during that time. At the end of the 30 days, add all the sales taxes up, add the gasoline excise tax per every gallon you bought to that, add 7.3% of your cash/no receipt purchases. Also add any turnpike tolls (a road-use tax) you might have paid, along with all taxes noted in your electricity, gas, water and phone bills (don't fortget the cell phone bill). And be sure to add the taxes charged for internet purchases, if you made/paid any of those. You now have your monthly taxes-paid amount... multiply by 12 to get a yearly amount and divide that by your AGI for your day-to-day tax % Add all of these tax %s together and you have a better handle on what you pay in taxes... I won't argue about the good deal we get... I believe some things are worth spending it on and others are foolish, but that is one's personal opinion... but your actual tax bill % will probably come as a real surprise...

Janet Lowther 11 years, 3 months ago

3of5 - You seem to recognize that you are uncommon, yet you complain that not everyone is like you.

Jamesaust - Government "services" have a value? I suppose they do, but it is mostly a negative value. If I had 0.01% of the money wasted just by the City of Lawrence, I'd be rich.

Some government services do have a value, but morally they are far, FAR outweighed by the coercion used to provide and fund them.

belle 11 years, 3 months ago

Great, put a toll on K10...then the only way out of Lawrence is to pay. I avoid I-70 at all costs so that I don't have to pay more than the road taxes I already pay.

blackwalnut 11 years, 3 months ago

This is a terrible idea. A tax should be tied to its usage. Surely there is another tax that would be more appropriate to generate this revenue.

Confrontation 11 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if tolling K-10 drivers would end up decreasing the population in Lawrence. From what I've seen, the services, housing prices, etc., in Johnson County are better, so why would people stay in Lawrence and pay extra to drive to Jo Co? Or even KC for that matter?

Jamesaust 11 years, 3 months ago

jrlii - if you're looking for somewhere that's a nirvana lacking these burdonsome government benefits I can think of several prime spots in Baghdad for you - a libertarian's dream!

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 3 months ago

That is ridiculous. We pay taxes to build roads to drive on. With the exception of the Kansas Turnpike, which should be a public toll free road anyway, there are no toll roads that I know of in Kansas. Obviously the taxes we pay to build and maintain our roadways are not being used properly, or are going into someone's pocket. Also, I thought bonds were sold to pay for large expenditures such as infrastructure and roadways. Where is our tax money going? Being wasted or stolen I imagine. Sell bonds to build the roads, we should not have to pay twice to drive on roads our taxes build. Thank you, Lynn

sinedie 11 years, 3 months ago

from_beautiful_downtown_topeka (great name) - what you asked is probably unlikely. The Kansas turnpike is the stretch of I-70 between Kansas City-Topeka and Topeka-Wichita. That's really the only place where the KTA has the capability to collect a toll.

Unless they can come up with some sort of improvement project for KS-10 (which at this point is unnecessary), KDOT will have a hard time getting any such bill through the House transportation cmte.

nbnozzy 11 years, 3 months ago

If I were to take into account sales tax on groceries and food places, those taxes would not take up to more than 3% more of my income. So, even at a liberals best guess, I pay no more than 25% in income tax. Those of you who claim 50% HAVE to make $250,000 or more or you're lying. I its a very fair guess on my part that you are bloviating your figures for dramatic effect.

People who read this forum are of middle class background for the most part as those who have a valuable asset have better things to do than blog the LJWorld website.

ksmom 11 years, 3 months ago

Hmmm, this sounds a lot like what they do in Virginia. They put tolls on all the thorough roads around Virginia Beach. The majority population there is military. My cousin lived on a road that was two blocks from the grocery store. Every time she went to the store, she had to toss .40 into the toll basket before she could even get on the main street to the store.

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