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Appropriations chairman alleges that head of Kansas Turnpike offered $25 million to kill merger proposal

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Topeka — House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said the head of the Kansas Turnpike Authority offered Gov. Sam Brownback $25 million to back off his proposal to merge the KTA with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

KTA President and Chief Exeuctive Officer Michael Johnston denied the allegation.

Rhoades made his comment Monday during committee discussion of a proposal to take $30 million in "savings" from KTA and KDOT to support general state operations.

State Rep. Nile Dillmore, D-Wichita, said no one from the Brownback administration has explained how those savings would occur. The savings, he said, "seems to be a number plucked straight from the air."

Rhoades responded, "Maybe it would come from the $25 million that the director offered the governor."

Asked to respond to Rhoades' comment, the KTA's Johnston said, "There is no truth to it."

He said of revenue collected from tolls on the 236-mile turnpike, "This money doesn't belong to me, and I can't spend it without board approval."

Johnston said a House member called him recently and asked him whether he offered $25 million to kill the merger proposal. "I gave him the same answer I am giving you," Johnston said. He declined to identify the House member.

As far as the proposed savings that Brownback has said would be realized if KTA were brought under KDOT, Johnston said he has no idea what the governor is talking about. "I was never consulted about anything," he said.

Also on Monday, the House gave final approval to a bill that says the KTA and KDOT should work together to minimize duplication of effort in maintaining the turnpike and state highway system.

Comments

Curveball 1 year, 1 month ago

We all know how hard it is to prove Bribery in this state or at least Douglas county. Just ask Lou.

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William Ballard 1 year, 1 month ago

Since the Republicans in the Legislature seem to willing to make up about anything to support their beliefs, I tend to think that Marc Rhoades allegation is a big fat lie. These Republicans are pushing a bill to force doctors to tell patients that having an abortion causes cancer, even though there is no scientific evidence. As far as their desire to combine the KTA and KDOT, no one in the Brownback administration is able to say exactly how this action will save 30 million dollars. They just make up figures to suit their needs. The people of Kansas need to vote these idiots out of office. Marc Rhoades should resign because of his lies.

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Kris Norton 1 year, 1 month ago

This just keeps gettin' better and better............. wife of Forealzies.

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toe 1 year, 1 month ago

The turnpike revenues should flow directly into state general highway funds. The turnpike projects should compete with all state highways for maintenance and expansion. More highways in Kansas should be toll roads as well.

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Mojoman 1 year, 1 month ago

Rhodes is from Newton....... Secretary King is from Newton. Hummmnn

Coincidence?

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oletimer 1 year, 1 month ago

and we are going to believe one of brownyback's stooges? Yeah right. browny is just trying to get some support from those stupid enough to think he knows what he is doing. The takeover of the KTA by the state is one of the dumbest ideas from browny yet. all he wants is the cash in the bank to help his "budget". anyone who was silly enough to vote for him better be proud. No one else is.

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TinmanKC 1 year, 1 month ago

Just like the magicians - it's all sleight of hand. But the suckers all applaud and re-elect them even as their own pockets have been picked.

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costello 1 year, 1 month ago

Ok, so is this how we do things now? Legislators smear people with unsupported allegations during public committee discussions?

I don't know why this shocks me so much considering the source, but I'm shocked.

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Michael Henderson 1 year, 1 month ago

I think his stupid 2008 try will put paid to any White House ambitions. Of course, if he were to get the GOP nomination, Kansas might go to a Democrat for only the third time in its history as a state: Cleveland in 1892, Johnson in 1964, and Hillary in 2016. The best Brownnose can hope for is as Christie's running mate. But maybe the GOP will pick Paul Ryan or Rand Paul, than whom only Brownback is worse.

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verity 1 year, 1 month ago

Mr Rhoades, give us your source or shut the hell up.

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Agnostick 1 year, 1 month ago

Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, should offer up proof of his allegation. If he cannot prove it, there is one undeniable conclusion:

Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, is a liar.

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olddognewtrix 1 year, 1 month ago

What a comedy of charlatans and fools the Brownback administration and his backers have become. a day of reckoning will come sooner or later. Brownbacks reputation for dirty politics will sink his presidential ambitions faster than a leaky canoe.

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question4u 1 year, 1 month ago

The question remains: Where is the $30 million in savings going to come from? Surely Brownback can answer that. Only an imbecile would promote a plan like this on wishful thinking. Even if facts make Brownback's skin crawl, he's got to have something to base this scheme on besides a hollow claim, doesn't he?

Where is the $30 million in savings going to come from? You won't get an answer from Michael Johnston, since he has already said that he doesn't know. You won't get an answer from Marc Rhoades, because he clearly has no idea. After all, he's only the HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN. You can't expect him to know the details of the schemes that he promotes. That would be asking for competence, which no longer has a place in Kansas government.

So what about the governor, whose office is pushing this? Why can't he answer the question: Where is the $30 million in savings going to come from?

It's a simple request, but maybe he thinks that the people of Kansas don't deserve honesty and transparency. If he really doesn't know, wouldn't it be better to admit that and withdraw the plan rather than hide his ignorance and stick the people of Kansas with the consequences for years to come?

Where is the $30 million in savings going to come from?

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Catalano 1 year, 1 month ago

Was the $25mil going into #heblowsalot's pockets? Or is there a specific budget line item for graft and corruption?

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kernal 1 year, 1 month ago

He said, she said....and you know this how, Rhoades? Did Brownback tell you this or someone else?

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LHS1980 1 year, 1 month ago

Hey, got to get some money somewhere since brownback cut all the taxes on his rich, GOP friends. What a bunch of crooks...

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Joe Hyde 1 year, 1 month ago

"Dad, should we nail Bambi now, or wait until next year when he's an 8-pointer?"

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