Kansas transportation task force outlines strategy
In the midst of tough economic times and scarce state resources, Governor Sebelius has outlined simple and no-cost steps to prepare Kansas for future transportation opportunities.
"Even though the federal stimulus bill has money set aside for states, Kansas should not build a foundation with temporary funds. We must ensure a solid and sustainable approach to move forward within our means," Sebelius said. "The steps we take now will not cost taxpayers additional money, but will ensure that as the economy improves we have a plan in place to take advantage of every opportunity."
Last August, Governor Kathleen Sebelius formed the Transportation-Leveraging Investments in Kansas Task Force (T-LINK) to begin crafting a new strategic transportation approach for the state.
Based on the recommendations of that task force, the governor has asked the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and Legislature to enact simple and no-cost policies to prepare Kansas for future transportation opportunities.
The recommendations include the following action steps:
* Cap bonding at 18 percent of adjusted total agency revenue and allow the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to manage its debt within that parameter.
* Increase funding options for communities by combining specific elements found in STAR bonds, Transportation Development Districts, and Tax Increment Financing into a single piece of legislation.
* Identify a prioritized network of local roads to maximize any future state or federal dollars through the creation of a Local Roads Commission assisted and staffed by KDOT.
* Expand eligible applicants for the short-line railroad program to include shippers, local governments and industrial parks.
* Rename the State Highway Fund to more accurately reflect the multi-modal system the fund supports.
Governor Sebelius also asked the T-LINK Task Force members to continue their service to the state by serving as an advisory body for implementation. KDOT has been directed to report progress to and seek input from T-LINK as recommendations are being implemented.
Additional information regarding the T-LINK recommendations can be found in their report "New Approaches for Transportation" available at http://www.kansastlink.com/.