State Transportation Tackles its 2009 Agenda

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TOPEKA, Kan. -- If you're afraid the stimulus package means potholes in your pocket, at least you won't have to worry about transportation taxes this year.

The state's secretary of transportation announced this year's outlook today.

Secretary Deb Miller spoke on behalf of Governor Sebelius at the Senate transportation committee meeting.

No taxes and no program initiatives are the headlines, but Miller also offered recommendations, such as debt management changes and increased funding options for communities.

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will begin enacting some suggestions, while others require legislative approval.

Kyle Schneweis, of KDOT, says he hopes the items will make it onto this year's congressional agenda.

Governor Sebelius' recommendations include the following action steps:

- Cap bonding at 18 percent of adjusted total agency revenue and allow the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to manage its debt within that parameter.

- Increase funding options for communities by combining specific elements found in STAR bonds, Transportation Development Districts, and Tax Increment Financing into a single piece of legislation.

- Identify a prioritized network of local roads to maximize any future state or federal dollars through the creation of a Local Roads Commission assisted and staffed by KDOT.

- Expand eligible applicants for the short-line railroad program to include shippers, local governments and industrial parks.

- Rename the State Highway Fund to more accurately reflect the multi-modal system the fund supports.

To find out how the stimulus package breaks down on a local level, check out the video.