Republican Derek Schmidt proposes trust fund for KS transportation

Kansas Democratic Governor Laura Kelly and Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt face off in the race for Kansas governor in November's general election.

Kansas Democratic Governor Laura Kelly and Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt face off in the race for Kansas governor in November’s general election.

Seeking to ensure there is money for big projects, Republican Kansas gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt on Wednesday proposed an amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would block transportation funding from be plundered for other purposes.

“The ‘Bank of KDOT’ must be permanently closed,” Schmidt, the Kansas attorney general, said in a press release.

The proposed amendment would create a transportation trust fund and prevent the state legislature from diverting the money to other priorities. Money from the fund could only be spent on capital expenditure to build or maintain roads, bridges, railways or airports.

The trust fund would hold money generated from transportation-related taxes, vehicle license fees, proceeds from transportation-related bonds, federal money, and fund income.

In the past, the money was taken from the highway and used to fund general government services. Some of the biggest sweeps came during the administration of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback when the state was struggling with multiple budget deficits, following the implementation of Brownback’s signature tax cuts.

“Derek Schmidt spent years helping Brownback drain the Kansas Highway Fund of nearly $2 billion,” Madison Andrus, campaign spokeswoman for incumbent Democratic Governor Laura Kelly, said in a statement. “No amount of campaign promises without any plan to fund them will distract Kansans from Derek’s true record.”

Kelly is the one who actually shut down the “Bank of KDOT,” Andrus said. Kelly brought Democrats and Republicans together to pass and implement a transportation agenda, which has more than 1,000 infrastructure projects underway to improve the state’s roads, bridges and highways.

Michael White, executive director of the Kansas Contractors Association, said Schmidt’s proposed amendment would protect Kansas’ economy as well as well-paying jobs in the state.

“Anything that helps protect those funds, we would certainly support,” he said. “Kansas’ transportation system is an economic engine. It provides a huge economic impact for our economy in Kansas. . . It is important that we protect the funds that make this possible.

The proposed change is the only way to ensure that money is spent on transportation.

“Anything that is not a guarantee that the money will be spent on infrastructure,” he said.

Schmidt also announced plans to prioritize construction of a four-lane freeway in southern Kansas that would connect southeast Kansas, Wichita and southwest Kansas, saying he has been long overdue. generations.

“In my opinion, the construction of Interstate 70 in northern Kansas offers ‘perhaps the greatest economic return on capital investment of taxpayer dollars in Kansas history,'” he said. -he declares.

“Southern Kansas needs and deserves this same opportunity because in the 21st century, four-lane access is essential for economic growth, especially in manufacturing and agriculture, which are building blocks of the region.”

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Robert A. Cronkleton rises very early in the morning to bring readers the latest on crime, transportation and dawn weather. He has been with The Star since 1987 and now contributes to data communications and video editing. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rockhurst College, where he studied Communications and Computer Science.

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