Topeka State highway officials on Wednesday said they have identified $17.2 million in savings since the Kansas Department of Transportation took over the Kansas Turnpike.
"This process will continue. It will be many years in the making," said Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King.
Last year, Gov. Sam Brownback pushed legislation that put the Kansas Turnpike Authority under KDOT, saying the merger would save $30 million over two years.
But during hearings on that bill, King didn't identify any specific savings. And opponents of the bill said the turnpike was well run and would suffer under KDOT control.
On Wednesday before the Senate Transportation Committee, King, who under the new law is in charge of the KTA, and Tara Mays, initiative liaison with KTA, outlined $17.2 million in savings that they said will occur over the lifetime of the changes.
The largest items were the refinancing of a KTA bond, which will save $11 million, and combining work on purchasing and replacing road signs, which will save $3 million, Mays said.
KDOT also plans to move its maintenance operations in Emporia into the KTA facility in Emporia this spring. KDOT will then sell its building.
State Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, who opposed last year's legislation, said after the meeting, "I'm keeping my powder dry until I make a decision on how this worked. I told them (KDOT) I will give them three years before I either apologize or take credit for being right."