Editorial: Clueless

Some facts might help the state transportation secretary sell a proposed highway agency merger.

February 7, 2013


Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King offered a stunning piece of testimony this week supposedly aimed at convincing state legislators to move forward on Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to merge KDOT and the Kansas Turnpike Authority.

His testimony should have exactly the opposite effect.

The governor contends that the merger would save the state $15 million a year, and his budget reflects a $30 million saving over the next two years. However, when members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee asked King Tuesday how those savings would be achieved, he had no answer. “There has to be a significant amount of duplication,” he opined, but, “no we do not have that list.” King added that his department would start working with the KTA to find those savings if lawmakers approve the merger.

Beg your pardon, Mr. King, but that is putting the cart before the horse. It would be irresponsible of legislators to approve such a merger — not to mention a $30 million budget cut — without having any idea how it would impact KDOT and Kansas Turnpike operations. As Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, noted, “It seems like a number (the $30 million) just picked out of thin air because that made the books balance.”

The KDOT secretary deserves credit for his honesty, but it may make Kansans wonder about other numbers plugged into the governor’s budget plan.


Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

Lies and deception. Hey If Brownback wants this he will exert his executive privilege and take it.

He only answers to ALEC.

SouthernMan 5 years, 4 months ago

Cart before the horse is right. Similar to that disaster Pelosi's remarks "We need to pass this bill so we can know what's in it".

Pastor_Bedtime 5 years, 4 months ago

It's more similar to the mythical Romney/Ryan tax plan to balance the budget by eliminating deductions ~ but without any deductions specified.

notajayhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Or perhaps approving a tax increase for bus service before the mT had a plan for increasing service ...

notajayhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Actually, it is not similar at all to identical actions taken on behalf of projects I supported, but it is extremely similar to one my ideology disagrees with.

There, fixed that for ya'.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 4 months ago

I am grateful that this newspaper has some reporters paying attention to the actions of our irresponsible Kansas government. There are so many bills being proposed now and so much restructuring that it is almost mind boggling. It is a strategic assault that has been planned for a long time.

If a citizen becomes alarmed by these actions, there is little you can do. A newspaper in a small town can make a difference. Great reporting and great writing is fundamental to what makes a great country.

So much of what we are seeing in the fine print of this legislation and restructuring is designed to pass unnoticed by the general public.

verity 5 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately, I find that the general public isn't really paying attention. It will be a little late when the results hit them and they are asking what happened.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 4 months ago

Frankly, from a business standpoint, the merger makes perfect sense on the cover. How can not combining two entities that basically duplicate services not, at least look like they can save money.

odierocket 5 years, 4 months ago

Business stand point? If I went in front of a board of directors or stock holders saying I could save millions but couldn't show it on a balance sheet, I believe I would soon be unemployed.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 4 months ago

I like the CHIBW always makes things up to tote the GOP party line. CHIBW reminds me of the Scarecrow...."If I only had a brain..."

buffalo63 5 years, 4 months ago

"how would the savings be acheived, he had no answer"...that is the correct answer. They have no idea other than to take the KTA money and put it into the general budget and watch the trunpike fail in 5-10years.

ockhamsrazor 5 years, 4 months ago

If it makes sense... show us the numbers.

2xhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Actually, this is pretty normal for the Legislature/Admin. for the past couple of years: Campaign Slogan: We're Working on Jobs! Post-Election: Abortion!!!!! We want to make it more Illegal Than Any Other State!!!

If he tells the truth ('we're going to suck as much cash out of the KTA as possible while politicizing its' Board') he's going to have a hard time rounding up votes, even amongst the true believers.

P.S. What's the deal with one of the recently appointed KTA board members buying Sec'y King's business? Quid pro quo? Payola? Inquiring minds, etc.

USian 5 years, 4 months ago

This idea must be REALLY bad, if conservatives are comparing it to Pelosi's action. :-> Brownback is desperate for money, because of the ill-conceived income tax reduction plan passed last year. He knew from the outset that it would cause revenues to drop below what is safe to keep the Kansas economy going. The Credit bonding companies are poised to lower our credit rating, causing bond rates to increase. It's not only roads that are being affected here, it is infrastructure. Roads, bridges, utilities, everything to keep the flow of traffic going smoothly, will be compromised by the raiding of these funds, especially if Brownback gets control of KTA. He's already bled the KDOT funds, so much so, that promised projects may not come to fruition, affecting economic development in the project's county.

I hope those that voted for Sam, regret their decision, especially now that he has revealed his megalomaniacal tendencies. Power corrupts, and the absolute power that Sam wants, corrupts absolutely.

Doninks 5 years, 4 months ago

Wanna bet that it won't be long after he gets control, and he will as Sam has his ways, that he decided to sell it off to the highest bidder, say one of his buddies? Sam always has ulterior motives. Will Kansans ever wake up to the evil they have put into power?

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