Gene Meyer
Kansas Reporter
TOPEKA, Kan. – Local Kansas governments will soon be able to tap the state’s $8.2 billion transportation plan for help with local highway projects, the Kansas Department of Transportation said Wednesday.

Department officials announced they are using $25 million of new T-Works transportation funds to reprime a special Transportation Revolving Fund first set up in 2004 to loan cities, counties and other governmental units funds for local road, bridge and other motor transportation projects. The fund originally was planned to provide up to $50 milllion in highway and infrastructure funding, but was suspended halfway to that level in July, 2009, due to revenue reductions to the state highway fund.

Now, T-Works money, raised in part by higher sales taxes the Kansas Legislature voted last spring, will be used to lift that moratorium, Deb Miller, the state’s transportation secretary, said Wednesday.

Basically, when local governments want additional state help financing local highway and infrastructure projects, the $25 million deposited in the revolving fund now will be leveraged, as needed, with another $75 million raised by the Kansas Development Finance Authority bonds to provide up to $100 million in total financing for the local projects.

Cities, counties and other local governments then repay the money with funds they raise through special highway allocations, sales taxes or other locally raised revenue. Based on financing activity that prevailed before the moratorium, the $25 million in new funding should meet local government demands for about five years, said Danielle Martin, a program specialist at the department.