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KDOT Announces 193 Projects Pass Initial Screening

September 15, 1999 (Release 99-191)
News Contact: Marty Matthews, (785) 296-3585

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) is pleased to announce that almost 200 projects will receive continued consideration for funding as System Enhancements. The System Enhancements program is a major component of the Comprehensive Transportation Program that was passed by the 1999 Legislature and signed into law by Governor Bill Graves on May 10, 1999.

"We had anticipated great interest in this program but the number of applications still surprised many of us," said E. Dean Carlson, Kansas Secretary of Transportation. "It is further evidence of the many transportation needs that exist in our state."

KDOT received a total of 349 letters of intent from cities and counties seeking System Enhancement funding. The candidate projects were screened for eligibility. System Enhancement projects must be on the State Highway System or a logical addition to the State Highway System. The projects must also substantially improve safety, relieve congestion, improve access, or enhance economic development. Projects are divided into three categories: Corridor Improvements, Bypass Construction, and Interchange/Separation Improvements.

Funding allocation is further divided into urban and rural projects, with 35 percent of the funding going to the five urban counties (Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee, and Wyandotte) and 65 percent to the rest of the state.

One-hundred-ninety-three projects passed the initial screening. This is just the first step in the process and does not guarantee funding as a System Enhancement. Project sponsors must now submit a detailed application for each project. Those applications are due by December 8th.

KDOT staff will then review candidate projects using objective selection criteria including factors such as overall traffic, accident rates, volume to capacity ratios, etc. The objective criteria make up 80 percent of a project's total overall ranking. A nine-member Economic Development Review Panel appointed by Governor Graves will determine the other 20 percent of a project's rating. This panel will decide a project's economic development enhancement rating. Project review will include on-site assessment by the panel members. Project selection is expected to be announced in early summer of next year.

Every project sponsor has been notified whether its proposed project is eligible for further consideration. KDOT will conduct a workshop on October 20th in Salina to assist project sponsors with the application process.

More information detailing the System Enhancement project application process may be found on the Kansas Department of Transportation's web site www.ink.org under "Doing Business," then "Information for Local Units of Government."