Topeka Facing huge budget holes, Kansas leaders are banking on assistance from incoming President Obama and the new Congress.
In an interview with the Lawrence Journal-World, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius expressed confidence that Obama would successfully push for a financial stimulus package that will help states.
“The goal is to get this money into the economy quickly,” Sebelius said.
The governor said that based on discussions between Obama and governors, including herself, the president-elect is considering a plan to help states with programs aimed at poor and unemployed people, and at infrastructure improvements.
“I think the package will include both of those directions,” she said.
Obama has been meeting in Washington with congressional leaders to outline his $775 billion plan, saying he hopes to have one signed into law with a few weeks. In addition to spending on government programs and projects, the plan would include tax cuts of up to $300 billion, according to reports.
On Tuesday, Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Deb Miller put two major road projects that had been delayed back in motion.
“All indications are there will be an economic stimulus package,” Miller said.
In November, Miller had suspended the planned expansion of Kansas Highway 61 in Reno County, and U.S. Highway 169 expansion in Montgomery County due to budget uncertainties. Together the projects are expected to cost more than $112 million.
But now Miller says KDOT will open bids on the projects Feb. 4.
“We decided that due to favorable prices right now, it is advantageous to the state to get those projects under contract quickly,” she said.
And Miller noted that once a federal stimulus package is approved “prices will go up.” But Miller said even if a federal plan fails to take shape, state officials can re-adjust some projects to get the K-61 and U.S. 169 projects going.