To the editor:
In the ’50s, there was a need for a major road and not much extra cash in the Kansas till. The answer was a private corporation to build and maintain a road through tolls. The bonds were floated and the road was built from Kansas City to the Oklahoma border (or the other way if you read the mileposts).
The fees go toward maintenance and retirement of the bonds. There have been major improvements over the years funded by the KTA with some federal match. At such time as the bonds are retired, the KTA will cease to exist, and the roads and responsibility for maintenance will revert to the state of Kansas without toll revenues. I can recall a couple instances when retirement of the bonds was considered and rejected because of the impact on future budgets.
Merger of the KTA with KDOT would require retirement of bonds, and there would be a necessity for legislation to continue the toll. The KTA also funds the Highway Patrol troop that patrols the ’pike. In addition to reimbursement of the state for salary and benefits, the KTA also provides all the equipment. In addition, it has paid for upgrades in weapons for state law enforcement.
Lest anyone think I am nostalgic, I pointed out the value of KTA to modern Kansas. I will point out that, back then, there were real conservatives (both Republican and Democrat) who looked for ways to solve problems without impacting a tight state budget. I would also recommend that the term “killing the goose” comes to mind.