According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, no project already scheduled for fiscal years 2015 through 2017 will be affected by "budget transfers" proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback.
That's the good news of Brownback proposing to take $55 million from KDOT to use for general state spending. The bad news is that a promised 100 percent funding of preservation projects in the 10-year T-WORKS transportation plan may not come to fruition.
"We hope this is just a delay in meeting all the state's preservation needs," said Steve Swartz, KDOT spokesman.
The roughly $55 million Brownback proposes to transfer from KDOT funds is in addition to the roughly $103 million already called for use to help fill state spending deficits. The total of about $158 million would account for roughly 12 percent of KDOT's FY 2015 budget.
In order to understand what will be delayed, s important to know the distinction between preservation and expansion spending.
Expansion spending are the "rock stars," so to speak. Specifically, they include such projects as the expansion of U.S. Highway 69 to four lanes and the modernization of Kansas Highway 7 between Cherokee and Columbus. Expansion projects are not affected by these planned transfers.
Rather, the issue is one of preservation, which refers to projects ranging from light resurfacing to bridge repair. Swartz said that the state has certain performance measures, including a certain percentage of bridges and pavement in good condition, that KDOT will continue to meet those measures, but going above and beyond may not happen.
"We can achieve all [our performance measures]. This would have gone beyond that. We'll push back on [projects] when we need to resurface. We may push back as long as we're meeting performance targets," Swartz said.
The governor's proposed budget -- which would have to pass the state House and Senate -- also calls for roughly $114 million in transfers from KDOT in FY 2016 and $115 million in FY 2017 more than expected.
KDOT Secretary Mike King said that the total amount of delayed preservation projects, projected to be about $297 million, could be done anyway if bids continue to come in under projections.
"Future savings from lower-than-anticipated bids and other agency savings, combined with additional revenue sources, will go toward funding projects delayed to the latter years of the T-WORKS program," King said.