Governor Laura Kelly and Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) Secretary Julie Lorenz announced today that preliminary engineering work will begin on 40 highway modernization and expansion projects.
These are the first projects to move forward under the Eisenhower Transportation Legacy Program (IKE), which was created in March.
“These transportation investments come at a critical time for our state’s economy. A robust development pipeline will help jumpstart our economic recovery by creating jobs and allowing the state to take advantage of potential federal stimulus dollars,” said Governor Kelly. “I’m thankful to the Legislature for passing IKE, a critical employment tool that will help put more Kansans back to work.”
“A modern transportation system moves people, freight and technology, and these 40 projects will allow us to do all those things better in every region of the state,” Secretary Lorenz said. “We’ve selected smaller projects, which can advance to construction quickly, and larger projects that will employ many people in all phases of development or construction.”
More than 2,000 Kansans participated in local consult discussions that shaped the IKE program and modernized how transportation should be delivered in Kansas. Here are a few notable features:
Previously, the only projects in KDOT’s development pipeline were the remaining T-WORKS projects. The development pipeline includes all the phases of work prior to construction such as design, acquiring right-of-way, or moving utilities. KDOT is not committing to constructing these 40 projects, but this will allow the necessary advance work to begin.
“I’ve directed KDOT to explore all options for accelerating project delivery for these 40 projects and for the delayed T-WORKS projects, which we remain committed to constructing,” the Governor said. “Transportation investments provide short-term and long-term economic benefits to communities and we’re committed to capturing as many of those opportunities as we can.”
The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the last stimulus for transportation infrastructure, prioritized shovel-ready projects. Currently, discussions are underway for a new federal stimulus bill for infrastructure, which will likely have similar requirements. Today’s announcement will allow KDOT to get more projects shovel ready.
“Thanks to Governor Kelly, the Legislature and Kansans, IKE was tailor-made for this moment,” Lorenz said. “It provides us the flexibility we need now and in the future. Today’s announcement is only the beginning. We know we have much more work to do.”
More information about IKE, including the list of 40 projects selected, is available at http://www.ksdot.org/IKE.asp