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Kansas Cuts More Road Projects Owing To Bleak Budget Outlook

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KCUR 89.3
The Kansas Department of Transportation is letting 10 fewer projects in January because of the state's budget situation.

Ten more road projects in Kansas have been postponed indefinitely.

That’s in addition to the 24 that were put on hold last month.

“Yesterday we were informed that the 18 projects that were scheduled to be let in January, KDOT has reduced that down to eight,” says Bob Totten with the Kansas Contractors Association.

The cancelled road projects for December and January total more than $49 million. Kansas is facing a $348 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2017.

Totten says because of the state’s budget crisis, the Kansas Department of Transportation can’t deliver on promises made as part of T-WORKS, the state’s jobs and highways initiative.

Last week the Kansas Contractors Association threw its support behind  an 11-cent gas tax hike.

“The reason we supported that is a gas tax cannot be stolen, raided, whatever term you want to call, from KDOT,” Totten says. “It is constitutionally protected that it’s supposed to build roads and bridges.”

Meanwhile, Totten says Kansas contractors are leaving the state for other jobs.

“Well, when the top five bidders on a project three weeks ago Thursday in Oklahoma were Kansas contractors, I think that’s a pretty good indication most people are trying to get work somewhere else,” he says.

Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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