Topeka — 12:40 p.m.
State transportation officials, key legislators and road contractors today pushed for another long term highway plan that could cost upwards of $10 billion but they acknowledged it will be a tough sell.
Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugton, said the Legislature is in no mood to approve a general tax increase, but increases in the state motor fuels tax or vehicle registration fees may be considered.
The pro-transportation plan forces came armed with a report from The Transportation Information Project, or TRIP, a Washington D.C.-based highway advocacy group.
The report said Kansas faces a $6.4 billion funding gap over 10 years to take care of critical road needs, such as deteriorating bridges, increased traffic and safety hazards.
Combined with the state’s annual expenditure of approximately $375 million per year for maintenance and repairs, the total 10-year price tag would top $10 billion.
The most recent 10-year, $13-billion comprehensive transportation program was approved in 1999 and expired earlier this year.
Here's a link to New York Times' report on Kansas Supreme Court ruling that has been hailed as major decision in the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Mortgage Electronic Registration System, which lost, has asked for a re-hearing before the court.
Two Democrats say they will decide within a few months whether to run for statewide office in 2010.
Kansas Securities Commissioner Chris Biggs is considering a campaign for secretary of state, and Charles Schollenberger, a retired communications executive and former journalist, is looking at a potential bid for U.S. Senate.
The two spoke to Sedgwick County Democrats at a luncheon on Friday, the Wichita Eagle reported.
Biggs lost a close race in 2002 for attorney general against Republican Phill Kline.
In the secretary of state contest, two Republicans seek their party's nod -- former GOP Chairman Kris Kobach and J.R. Claeys of Salina. The current secretary of state Ron Thornburgh, a Republican, is not seeking re-election.
Schollenberger, who was a reporter for the Hutchinson News and Kansas City Star before working for various advertising agencies, may run for the Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican, who is running for governor. U.S. Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt are running for the Republican nomination in the Senate race.