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Legislator proposes merging KTA into KDOT



Thanks to Richie Kennedy for posting this on MTR.

Logically, the idea of having two separate agencies has always seemed a bit wasteful to me...there has to be some kind of redundancy there. Merging the agencies would probably be cheaper. But the problem with the idea is the legislators wanting to divert the toll proceeds to non-road projects. That is a colossally bad idea, budget shortfall or no.

They don't have to combine them to do that.

In Pennsylvania, the PTC is giving money from tolls to PENNDOT for repair of non-tolled highways and other forms of transportation.  And, that frees up general fund money to be spent on other things.

And, I'm sure that tolls are higher on the Pennsylvania Turnpike System are higher than they would be otherwise.

I'm sure that would happen in Kansas as well if the KTA is abolished.

I'm not sure. I think there's some thing as it is now about KTA that says the Turnpike can only use Turnpike money and it can't go to anything else. Bless their hearts, they're always been quite proud of the Turnpike being self-sufficient.

Also, Mr Feuerborn wants to skip the middleman and give all the cash direct to the state's general fund. Not just giving the cash to KDOT so KDOT doesn't have to get into the general fund as much.

J N Winkler:
TollRoadsNews had an in-depth report on this proposal.  I think it has now died, probably through being refused committee review, though I haven't yet checked this with a bill tracker.

I think TollRoadsNews' account is probably the most honest available since it doesn't try to twist the story to fit a balancing-the-budget slant.  By his own admission, Feuerborn's rationale is to eliminate duplication in plant and equipment and make sure the Turnpike's debt is completely paid down (i.e., put an end to the current situation where the KTA can perpetuate its own existence by issuing new bonds).

IMO, transfers to the general fund are a complete red herring.  KDOT currently receives only $16 million from the state general fund, which is a pittance compared to a typical monthly letting.  I don't think the provision allowing Turnpike revenues to be transferred to the general fund would have survived committee review, because a similar proposal to use Turnpike revenues to fund shortfalls in the university system fell flat last year.


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