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Archive for Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Highway officials pull plug on projects because of funding concerns

Don't look for any new major highway projects in Kansas any time soon. Budget concerns mean state officials are delaying some projects.

November 12, 2008

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Budget problems have driven state highway projects into the ditch.

Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Deb Miller on Wednesday announced that 95 road projects worth $209 million would be delayed for two months or more.

"We are operating in a time of extreme financial uncertainty, and it would be irresponsible for us to begin work on projects without knowing whether we will be able to pay for them," Miller said.

Miller said KDOT is facing potential shortfalls in federal and state funds. Because of that, she said, the department was suspending construction lettings - when bids are submitted by contractors and opened by KDOT - for two months on most projects.

But the delay could last longer.

"We will continue to evaluate our financial situation to determine whether we can afford to let additional scheduled projects," she said.

Several big-ticket items have been put on hold, including widening Kansas Highway 61 in Reno and McPherson counties, estimated to cost $96 million, and U.S. 169 in Montgomery County, a $58 million project.

But escaping postponement was the $27 million expansion of U.S. 59 in Franklin County, which is already under way and funded mostly with federal dollars.

The squeeze on highway projects comes as both state and federal revenue sources are decreasing amid a nationwide economic downturn.

Miller said KDOT will receive about $50 million less in sales tax, motor fuels tax and vehicle registration fees than was previously projected. On the federal level, a shortfall in the highway trust fund could reduce revenues to KDOT by $160 million in the next fiscal year.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are discussing whether to put together another 10-year transportation program because the present one expires next year.

"We're trying to find ways to continue the job the state has done," said Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, chairman of a special committee studying transportation funding.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"Seems odd they are spending our money on a project that is contingent upon the passing of the 32nd alignment."They have to do it to create a "reality" that's consistent with the fiction they've already created.

Kent Shrack 6 years, 1 month ago

Are they stopping the contract for building the new and improved wetlands, which is underway? Seems odd they are spending our money on a project that is contingent upon the passing of the 32nd alignment.

gccs14r 6 years, 1 month ago

If the SLT alignment had been south of the river, it would have been built 20 years ago.

LogicMan 6 years, 1 month ago

"But officials said the delay won't affect expansion of U.S. Highway 59 in Franklin County, which already is under way."It's not sounding good for the northern half, in Douglas County, since it hasn't been contracted yet.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

People want to eat biscuits while driving on SLC.

dweezil222 6 years, 1 month ago

LogicMan (Anonymous) says: "But officials said the delay won't affect expansion of U.S. Highway 59 in Franklin County, which already is under way."It's not sounding good for the northern half, in Douglas County, since it hasn't been contracted yet.=======================Figures, too, since the Douglas County section probably needed it more than Franklin County. That stretch from Baldwin Junction to Lawrence is in desperate need of an upgrade.

gccs14r 6 years, 1 month ago

The 31st St wetlands are restored wetlands, not artificial wetlands. There is a difference.

kcwarpony 6 years, 1 month ago

"...Haskell protested. And, in fact, turned down huge sums of money to let it go down 31st. Bozo believes this shows amazing character. I think is shows supreme stubborness bordering on lunacy."One could say the same about someone who would rather b!t*h and complain about their daily commute than move closer to their job.

FredGarvin_MP 6 years, 1 month ago

Don't fret, the US-59 Douglas County grading project is going to be up for bid next Wednesday the 19th and the Franklin County surfacing project will be let December 17th.

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