Archive for Friday, October 19, 2007

Group seeks federal funds for city roads

October 19, 2007


Even in Washington, D.C., city leaders can't escape the topic of Lawrence's deteriorating streets.

In fact, a Lawrence delegation traveling to Washington to lobby federal legislators plans to make the issue a major topic of conversation.

City commissioners Thursday approved a legislative priority statement that includes a focus on encouraging federal legislators to shore up a federal fund that cities rely upon to address infrastructure needs.

"I think we want to challenge our federal legislators to not retreat from basic infrastructure needs," City Manager David Corliss said. "Their help is very important to this community."

Corliss, Mayor Sue Hack and Vice Mayor Mike Dever will be part of a Lawrence group that will meet with the Kansas congressional delegation in Washington on Monday.

Corliss said the city wants to devote some of the visit to emphasizing the importance of the federal highway fund, which provides billions of dollars each year to state and local governments across the nation for road projects. Federal officials have been warning of a projected $4.3 billion shortfall in the fund. The fund largely is financed by a federal per-gallon tax on gasoline. The gasoline tax has become a less stable source of revenue as consumers have begun conserving gasoline in the wake of rising prices.

The city recently used federal transportation funding to pay for 80 percent of the project to reconstruct Kasold Drive north of Peterson Road. Corliss said many other large road projects - such as rebuilding Kasold Drive between 15th Street and Peterson Road, or revamping parts of Wakarusa Drive - will likely need federal funding to be completed.

State leaders have warned that Kansas may lose $130 million to $150 million in transportation funding if the federal fund is not shored up.

"This could have a large impact on Lawrence," Corliss said.

The city's legislative policy statement highlights two road projects that the city has applied for federal funding: a new interchange at Bob Billings Parkway and the South Lawrence Trafficway; and intersection improvements on Kansas Highway 10 and Franklin Road near the East Hills Business Park.

Here are other issues that the city included on its legislative priority statement:

¢ Seeking support to develop a bioscience industry in Lawrence.

"We really need to drive home the idea of how our location and the university put us in what we believe is a really strong position to have the biosciences be a major part of our future," City Commissioner Mike Amyx said.

¢ Continued funding for public transportation, improvements to the Lawrence Municipal Airport, and for housing projects through the federal Community Development Block Program.

¢ New funding for the recently designated Freedom Frontier National Heritage Area, which is designed to highlight the area's Civil War history.

¢ Research and educational funding for Kansas University and Haskell Indian Nations University.

Commissioners approved the legislative statement on a 4-0 vote. Hack was absent from the meeting.

In addition to Hack, Dever and Corliss, several other community leaders will be making the trip, including Lavern Squier, president and chief executive officer of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce; Joan Golden, chamber chairwoman; Becca Booth, chamber director of membership development; Douglas County Commissioner Bob Johnson; Bruce Passman, deputy superintendent of Lawrence public schools; Keith Yehle, director of government relations for KU; and LaVerne Epp with the Lawrence-Douglas County Bioscience Authority.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 8 months ago

Where's all the howling about city commissioners wasting money on "Washington vacations?"

deskboy04 10 years, 8 months ago

No more roads! or repairs! Save the planet!

Richard Heckler 10 years, 8 months ago

Manhattan and Lawrence shooting for the Bio Science: What is the sales tax rate paid by Manhattan Kansas citizens? State of Kansas sales tax = 5.3% Both Riley County/Pottawatomie retail sales tax = 1.0% City of Manhattan sales tax = 1.0% USD 383 sales tax = .25% Total sales tax rate = 7.55% Wal-Mart Transportation Development District sales tax = .50% Total sales tax rate for Wal-Mart shoppers = 8.05% ======================= 4. What is the City mill rate and the combined mill rate of the City, Riley County, and USD 383 for 2006? City Mill Rate 36.235 mills USD 383 Mill Rate - 43.832 Riley County Mill Rate - 34.341 mills State of Kansas Mill Rate - 1.500 mills Total Mill Rate - 115.908 mills ========================= Lawrence Sales tax 7.30%

Property Tax Property owners in the City of Lawrence pay property taxes each year. Property taxes include taxes for four government units; Douglas County, the State of Kansas, Unified School District #497, and the City of Lawrence. Each unit of government determines its own tax rate depending on its own needs. Property tax rates are based on mills and are assessed through a mill levy. One mill is equivalent to one dollar for every thousand dollars of assessed property value. Most property owners within the city limits have a mill levy of 107.25 mills. Mills* City of Lawrence 28.07 Douglas County 29.84 State of Kansas 1.500 USD #497 47.84 Total 107.25 ===============================

Both Manhattan and JOCO invest .25% sales tax in their school districts. Healthy public school districts are an attraction. Green collar industries might not require tax abatements or other tax incentives such as big names or big government projects yet seem to offer above minimum wages maybe even a living wage.

Can Lawrence afford tax abatements? Historically they seem not to pay back the community in wages.

toefungus 10 years, 8 months ago

JW, go with them and report on what they do.

monkeyhawk 10 years, 7 months ago

"JW, go with them and report on what they do."

Did I miss the follow up on this? Did they go? What did they do? Who did they meet with?

Since the Deciphera deal seems to have been done last week, did the group even go to Washington?

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