PITTSBURG – Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer’s office announced today that it will be expanding Kansas’ participation in the Federal Fund Exchange Program. The change will bring the exchange rate back to $.90 in state funds for every $1 in federal funds.

Former governor Sam Brownback had slashed the rate to just 75 cents on the dollar in 2017. Prior to the move by Brownback, the exchange rate had been a steady 90 cents for six years.

According to a release from Colyer’s office, the federal fund exchange program allows agencies to sell all or part of their federal funds earmarked for state transportation.

This allows local agencies to fund larger projects they would have been previously unable to undertake. The funds can be used for sidewalks, ADA ramps, bridge construction, low water crossings, road construction or maintenance, as well as safety improvements.

In his release the governor cited the importance of Kansas helping itself in regards to transportation to decrease red tape and speed up funds when they are needed.

“By participating in the Federal Fund Exchange Program, we are hoping to increase the control that localities have over their transportation projects and make sure that funds are available when they need them,” Colyer said in the release. “It is important to me that local governments have access to resources for local projects with less federal regulation and bureaucratic red tape. We want Kansas solutions for Kansas transportation issues.”

The change is a welcome one for local business owner Chuck Heckert.

“KDOT had cut its budget back so far, we haven’t seen much state work lately,” Heckert said.

Heckert owns Heckert Construction, headquartered in Pittsburg, and specializes in asphalt paving.

Heckert hopes the new funding will make a difference in the kind of contracts his company sees.

“I’m hoping this does make a difference,” he said. “We’d like to see some of that state work back.”