Rep. Nancy Boyda met with Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller to discuss the joint project to fix Kansas Highways yesterday. According to the release, the two agree there is a "looming transportation funding crisis facing both Kansas and the nation.”
This morning's Cap Journal reports
According to the release
Congresswoman Nancy Boyda will introduce legislation next week to refill the federal highway fund in an effort to stave off a $120 million shortfall in Kansas transportation funds, she said Monday.
The move comes after the House and Senate last week removed $8 billion from a bill that would have temporarily fixed the depleted fund used for road projects across the country.
This is another effort by Boyda to create a stronger and safer infrastructure in Kansas and nation wide and more in a long line of attempts by Boyda to bring federal dollars back to help the people of Kansas.
Boyda said “I can’t tell you how frustrated I am by the situation. Congress should have seen this coming and taken action. We had a good, common sense fix that got caught up in politics. This provision would have simply reversed a transfer made from the Highway Fund to the Treasury Department in 1998. There would have been no additional cost to the taxpayer to shore up the Highway Fund and address the immediate shortfall. Instead, the provision was stripped away in order to ensure Senate passage of the FAA Reauthorization Bill.”
KDOT Secretary Deb Miller: “Failure to address the Highway Trust Fund shortfall will mean a cut of more than 30 percent – or about $120 million – in funding to Kansas. That will significantly impact our ability to complete the Comprehensive Transportation Program as scheduled. And, it will have a ripple effect on our ability to do other projects.”
“The transportation shortfall is very real,” added Boyda, “and there are additional concerns. We are working with an outdated policy. While Big Oil continues to receive billions of dollars in subsidies – at the expense of hardworking Kansans – the 18 cent gas user fee has not been changed in more than a decade. Meanwhile, construction costs have gone through the roof. This is a crisis waiting to happen not only for our highways, but for infrastructure overall.”
According to the CapJournal
Kansas is entering the last year of its 10-year highway plan, and the funding shortage threatens at least four of that plan's projects yet to begin in Douglas, Riley, Barton and Sedgwick counties.
Nationally, the fund had a running $15 to $18 billion balance in past years, said Deb Miller, secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation. By 2009, that balance will be gone.
Officials estimate the federal fund's shortfall at $3.4 billion, though that outlook may be artificially rosy because it was released before revenues from the gas tax began to decline. Miller said the fund easily could face a $5 billion debt.
That translates to at least a $120 million shortage of funds for Kansas projects. In Douglas County, $109 million of grading and bridge work along 11 miles of US-59 highway are one project. Riley County's $33 million project along K-18 also is in jeopardy.
Money to replenish the federal highway fund was included in an aviation bill, but some complained about the relevance of road funds in an airplane industry measure. It was removed after it appeared its inclusion would drive off votes.