Kansans have long understood the impact good highways have on local communities, the state's economy and the safety of our citizens. No Kansan knew this better than President Dwight Eisenhower. His leadership led to investment in infrastructure that changed America forever.
Kansas has since become one of the leaders in developing innovative comprehensive transportation plans that serve as a trademark for the state. T-WORKS is the state's current 10-year transportation program which provides $4.4 billion in preservation projects and $1.7 billion in modernization and expansion projects, as well as investment in transit, aviation and rail. The program calls for a minimum investment of at least $8 million in every Kansas county, which has been met in 73 of our 105 counties.
Since T-WORKS was passed in 2010, more than $600 million has been diverted to other areas of the budget, and recent revenue projections place strong pressure on the budget. T-WORKS is primarily funded through a dedicated revenue source of 4/10 cent sales tax. Without that revenue source and with additional diversions from KDOT, the program will not be completed as designed and many Kansas communities will be left with an empty promise.
Before lawmakers raid the "Bank of KDOT" to fill yet another budget hole, they should consider the estimated 175,000 jobs created during the life of the program, the $10 billion impact to the Kansas economy and the modern improvements to Kansas communities.
The transportation projects in T-WORKS are designed to help connect our rural communities, attract economic development and keep Kansans safe. These projects are not only worthy of the investment promised to Kansans, but they are crucial to helping grow the Kansas economy.