Projects Threatened by Funding Questions
February 16, 2004 (04-021)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News Contact: Krista Roberts
Topeka - Approximately $550 million in highway improvement projects will
be eliminated if the Legislature doesn't approve Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’
plan to complete the Comprehensive Transportation Program (CTP), Transportation
Secretary Deb Miller said today.
“I have done everything I can to avoid this day,” Miller said at a Topeka
news conference. “But the time has come to face facts. If the Legislature
doesn’t approve the plan that Governor Sebelius
has proposed to complete the CTP, we will be forced to start cutting projects.
I want to make that absolutely clear to legislators and to the communities
Governor Sebelius’ plan authorizes the issuance
of $465 million in bonds between FY 2007 and FY 2009, the final year of the
CTP. The bond proceeds would replace sales tax revenue that budget projections
show the state can’t afford to transfer to the State Highway Fund in the remaining
years of the program.
The full sales tax transfer hasn't been made in any year since the CTP was
passed in 1999. It was withheld in its entirely in fiscal years 2003 and 2004,
following the steepest decline in state revenue collections since the Great
KDOT will complete all of the announced CTP projects if the Governor's plan
is approved. If it isn't, Miller said $150 million in projects will be cut
in fiscal year 2005, which begins July 1, 2004. An additional $100 million
in projects will be eliminated each year for the remainder of the program.
“If the Legislature doesn’t act this session, we are past the point of no
return,” Miller said. “The promises they made to communities when this program
was passed in 1999 will be broken.”
Miller said an alternative plan offered by Republican legislative leaders
will force KDOT to cut $360 million in projects. And she cautioned it was
based on the unrealistic assumption that up to 12 percent of state sales tax
receipts will be transferred to pay for highway projects.
“I know that many legislators – both Democrats and Republicans – want to
save this program,” Miller said. “But in these tight budget times it isn’t
reasonable to believe the Legislature will make those revenue transfers. Communities
expecting projects need realistic assurances, not more empty promises designed
to buy time that we no longer have.”
State Budget Director Duane Goossen said the Republican proposal would require the Legislature
to divert money from education, economic development and safety net programs
to avoid creating a deficit in the State General Fund.
“The Governor’s plan works from a budget standpoint.” Goossen
said. "It allows us to complete all of the announced highway projects while
freeing up revenue for schools and job-creation programs, as well as those
that serve elderly and disabled Kansans."