Budget cuts delay road projects in Kansas

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The Kansas Department of Transportation will delay 25 road projects scheduled for fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

Those projects will be delayed until remaining State High Fund revenues allow or new money is made available.

"We understand that sometimes funds get transferred for other uses in state government," said Steve Swartz, KDOT Chief of Public Affairs. "We intend to build projects and that's what we like to do, so, we will certainly continue these projects when funds allow it."

The delays include 14 projects in FY 2017 that have an estimated construction cost of $271 million; 9 projects in FY 2018 that have an estimated construction cost of $247 million; and two projects in FY 2019 that have an estimated construction cost of $35 million.

Modernization and expansion projects are generally the larger projects under the current T-WORKS transportation program.

Organizations that oppose cuts to road projects have been putting up billboards across Kansas, including on I-135 in Wichita.

"We've basically destroyed the T-WORKS program because we've mismanaged money in our state government. We've chosen to do certain things that have not been beneficial to the quality of life that most people in Kansas expect," said Bob Totten, Kansas Contractors Association Executive Vice President.

Preservation programs will continue, which cover a range of work, including pavement and bridge repair, resurfacing and replacement.

"Despite the delays, the overall good condition of the 10,000-mile state highway system won’t be impacted since KDOT’s preservation projects will be let to contract as scheduled and will be funded at the $400 million per year level. Nor will these delays affect projects that are already underway.” said Mike King, Kansas Transportation Secretary.

King furthered added this comment on a news release.

"I also want to assure our city and county partners that there will be no change in the amount of revenue they receive from the Special City County Highway Fund (SCCHF),” he said.

Annually, KDOT shares about a third, or almost $150 million, of the state fuels tax revenue with local governments through SCCHF.

The project delays also will not affect other KDOT programs that fund aviation, rail, public transit and more.