To the editor:
A Jan. 18 Journal-World article notes savings associated with the combination of the Kansas Turnpike Authority and Kansas Department of Transportation. This combination provides the state an opportunity to use specific purpose fee funds to fill state funding gaps created by tax cuts. The article states that KDOT maintenance facilities in Emporia will move in with KTA facilities. KDOT facilities will be sold.
Those that rely on the turnpike for commuting or frequent travel should not be misled by this decision. The article did not address the capacity issues that would limit the Turnpike Authority’s ability to keep up with its own needs when KDOT needs are added. Taxpayers should pay attention to the governor’s strategy here.
Other specific purpose fee funds are similarly vulnerable. Water plan fee funds and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism fee funds are others that come to mind. We will find with time that special purpose services provided by fees no longer exist as they are absorbed into other state programs that are no longer covered by tax revenues. Keep in mind this is not just a savings to KDOT it is a decrease in services to the turnpike and the fees for its use remain the same.