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Interest High in System Enhancement Program

December 16, 1999 (Release 99-262)
News Contact: Marty Matthews, (785) 296-3585

Interest High in System Enhancement Program

The Kansas Department of Transportation has received 143 project applications for its System Enhancement Program. These requests cover more than 1,000 lane miles and total nearly $5 billion.

"This shows the intense interest that communities have in improving the statewide transportation infrastructure," said E. Dean Carlson, Kansas Secretary of Transportation. "I know the local governments worked long and hard to put together the best possible application. Now it's our turn to work every bit as hard as we review the applications and apply the selection criteria."

The System Enhancement Program is one aspect of the Comprehensive Transportation Program passed by the Kansas Legislature in April 1999 and signed into law by Governor Bill Graves on May 10, 1999. The CTP provides one billion dollars for System Enhancements over the ten-year life of the program.

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. These percentages are based on the vehicle miles traveled. In other words, approximately 65 percent of all vehicle miles traveled are on the rural portions of the state highway system. A breakdown of the categories in which the requests were received is included with this news release.

KDOT staff has already begun reviewing candidate projects. They will prioritize projects based on selection criteria such as overall traffic, accident rates, volume to capacity ratios, etc. The objective criteria make up 80 percent of a project's total overall rating.

A nine-member Economic Development Review Panel appointed by Governor Graves will determine the other 20 percent of a project's rating. Lieutenant Governor Gary Sherrer chairs this panel and all questions concerning its activities should be directed to his office. The contact person there is Gwendolyn Cargnel, 785-296-0615.

KDOT will make the final decision on which projects are to be funded and expects to announce those selections in early summer of next year (2000).

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."

System Enhancements Program Timeline

June 1999: KDOT announces that it is soliciting letters of intent from local units of government for System Enhancement projects.

August 2, 1999: Deadline for letters of intent. KDOT receives 350 of them and begins screening for eligibility.

September 15, 1999: KDOT announces that 193 of the letters of intent qualify for consideration as SE projects and notifies local governments as to its decision. Governments may submit applications for any project deemed eligible.

October 20, 1999: KDOT conducts workshop in Salina for local governments on how to put together System Enhancement applications.

December 8, 1999: Deadline for System Enhancement Applications. KDOT receives 143 applications.

December 9, 1999- Early Summer 2000: KDOT reviews and rates candidate projects, receives rankings from Economic Development Review Panel, and develops total score for each project.

Early Summer 2000: KDOT announces project selection.

System Enhancement Program
Final Applications
(As Submitted)

Total Applications: 143
Rural Projects: 100
Urban Projects: 43


Total: 84
Rural: 73
Urban: 11


Total: 23
Rural: 20
Urban: 3


Total: 36
Rural: 7
Urban: 29