PITTSBURG — Representatives from all over the region visited Pittsburg State University Thursday to speak to the Kansas Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force.
According to the governor's website the task force has a “a broad mission, which includes evaluating the progress of the current transportation program, making recommendations regarding the future needs of the state transportation system and identifying additional necessary transportation projects, among other duties.”
Local city administrators, mayors, community leaders, and members of the general public spoke to the task force about priority transportation projects in their area.
President of the Highway 69 Association Ken Brock said continuing to expand U.S. Highway 69 is not only a economic issue, but also a safety one.
“This is our chance to save a life, at least one a year.” Brock said.
Frontenac Mayor Linda Gilz reminded the assembled task force that continuing the promise of an expanded Highway 69 is important, and should be honored.
“We in Southeast Kansas have waited a very long time for the competitive edge a modern and safe highway affords business, industry and others,” Grilz said. “Our request is simple, honor the commitments you have made to the citizens of Southeast Kansas.”
Pittsburg City Administrator Daron Hall spoke not only about the importance of the Highway 69 expansion but also urged the task force to consider funding other statewide programs. Hall stressed the importance of the City Connecting Link Improvement Program, and the Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program among others.
Hall also expressed concern about the property tax lid. In this written statement to the task force, he said the tax lid makes it hard for communities to compete.
“By having a law that artificially limits the amount of property tax elected community representatives can realize, Kansas is constraining communities and not only making it difficult for us to compete, but exerting even more pressure on KDOT to identify and hold on to transportation funds,” Hall said in written testimony.
The task force will hold an additional 6 meetings in various locations around the state before presenting their findings to the government.