Archive for Monday, January 4, 2010

State transportation committee advances plan that would raise taxes to fund state transportation plan

January 4, 2010


— A legislative committee on Monday pushed forward two proposals that would increase taxes to fuel a new state transportation plan.

Supporters of the recommendation said they wanted to get the debate started on a new 10-year highway plan when the legislative session starts Monday.

“The primary purpose of any recommendation is to provide information to our colleagues, stimulate discussion and get feedback from them,” said state Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood.

But opponents said they opposed the idea of increasing taxes.

State Rep. Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said legislators should determine what kind of construction and maintenance program was needed before discussing how to fund it. “I have immense problems supporting this,” he said.

But state Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the recommendations represented months of work and study on the issue, and that the full Legislature should have the benefit of the special transportation committee’s input.

“This is a very important decision for the future of our state,” he said.

The House-Senate committee forwarded two options.

One option would apply the state sales tax of 5.3 cents per dollar on motor fuels purchases, but reduce the current motor fuels tax, which is 24 cents per gallon, by 5 cents per gallon. Local governments could also assess the local sales tax. That proposal would raise $4.4 billion over 10 years.

Even with the reduction, the addition of sales tax on motor fuels would greatly increase drivers’ costs, said state Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita.

The other option would increase the motor fuels tax by 7 cents per gallon and then enact further increases based on the Consumer Price Index. By the end of 10 years, transportation officials estimate the per-gallon tax would increase 15 cents. That would raise $3.74 billion over 10 years.

Both plans would also increase car registration fees by $20 and truck registration fees by $100.

Under both scenarios, the tax increases would not take effect until 2013.

“We have delayed implementation of a revenue stream for three years, recognizing that the economy is struggling right now,” said state Sen. Kelly Kultala, D-Kansas City.

The proposals also call for issuing $300 million in bonds to help cover projects over the next three years.

Any final plan would have to be approved by the Legislature.

Transportation advocates are pushing for a new comprehensive plan because the 10-year, $13 billion plan that was adopted in 1999 is winding down.


LogicMan 7 years ago

My prognostication: In this harsh budget environment, if there's a way, that new tax if approved will get diverted to other purposes.

gccs14r 7 years ago

Just say no to new roads in Kansas. We do not have a rapidly expanding population and do not have an influx of new industries, so we don't need new roads. Let's try to repair what we have. When we prove that we can consistently and reliably maintain existing infrastructure (including state buildings), then maybe we can consider building new things if there is a demonstrable need and we can afford it.

KsTwister 7 years ago

On top of the funds Kansas gets to promote roads and bridges they want to raise taxes like they can't afford it. There is rats in your State and you better be getting rid of them! This isn't going to fly Senator.

ralphralph 7 years ago

More! More! We want to pay More! We MUST pay More!

Besides ... if they ain't nuttin' kickin', they ain't nuttin' kickin' back.

Sean Livingstone 7 years ago

The more roads you build, the more money you will need to maintain them... including plowing them clean of snow, repairs etc. For whatever nonsense do we need so much road? Oh right, for businesses that want to draw people to buy from them. So who should be paying those taxes? Now, don't tell them it's me!

bd 7 years ago

We are in a major educational financial crisis statewide and they want to raise taxes for new roads??? Something is not right here???

Danielle Brunin 7 years ago

From what I understand, the biggest part of a new CTP would simply be maintenance rather than construction. The maintenance would be concentrated in rural areas where some of the bridges are over 50 years old and literally crumbling. The construction will be concentrated in urban areas like Johnson and Wyandotte where the populations are rapidly growing.

gccs14r 7 years ago

Some states are reverting to gravel for rural roads to save money. With western Kansas rapidly depopulating, it may make sense to revert to gravel out there, too. The bridges that need to be replaced out there could often be removed entirely, since irrigation has dried up the riverbeds.

Danielle Brunin 7 years ago

The only problem with removing the bridges is that if the streams are mapped blueline (dry or not), they will still be subject to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. From an environmental regulatory perspective, it would be near impossible to get the permits to put a road through them. Then, you also have the issue of another road to maintain and they don't last anywhere near as long as a bridge. It would be more cost-effective to just replace the bridge, in my opinion. I do think we should maintain the roads we have and not build more unless absolutely necessary.

Alexander Neighbors 7 years ago


Build a freaking high speed train across Kansas.

gccs14r 7 years ago

I'm talking about the little 20-foot-long concrete bridges that were put up all over the country in the 1930s. They sit just a few feet above the streambed and basically keep your tires dry after a rainstorm. Pull the bridge, grade the roadbed on both sides to smooth the transition in and out of the stream, pack some gravel in the bottom, and call it good. If we ever become a first-world country again, then we can think about putting bridges back in.

Danielle Brunin 7 years ago

Yup, even those are subject to said regulation under the Corps and DWR guidelines. Ya can't make this stuff up!

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

Committee says, "Don't gore our ox." Film at 10:00.

gccs14r 7 years ago

What about a graveled culvert, then? Toss a couple of corrugated galvanized tubes in the creek, backfill with gravel, and leave. There are ways to do this that don't cost half a millon each.

tomatogrower 7 years ago

New taxes for roads, but none for education. Well, I guess those kids who didn't get an education can shovel tar.

anon1958 7 years ago

Taxing fuel is very regressive. It is a disproportional burden on the poor and working class. It is a gift to the rich, thus its popularity among the legislature of every state.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

livingstone (Anonymous) says…

"So who should be paying those taxes? Now, don't tell them it's me!"


bd (Anonymous) says…

"We are in a major educational financial crisis statewide and they want to raise taxes for new roads???"


tomatogrower (Anonymous) says…

"New taxes for roads, but none for education."

I'd like to point out to all you whiners that, with the exception of the relatively small bond issue, all the additional taxes are user fees - motor fuel taxes, sales taxes on fuel, and increased registration fees. If you aren't driving on the roads you won't see your taxes raised a dime.

anon1958 (Anonymous) says…

"Taxing fuel is very regressive. It is a disproportional burden on the poor and working class. It is a gift to the rich, thus its popularity among the legislature of every state."

Uh huh. All those folks dragging their boats up to the lake behind their SUV's every summer are the poor people.

Danielle Brunin 7 years ago

gccs14r, Gravel would be an environmental impact and present aquatic passage issues, even if it's dry 99.9% of the time. The regulations just keep tightening up. If you're interested, PM me and I can direct you to some of the regs and rules that we go through when we permit projects. Boring yet interesting, all rolled into one big package!

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