Kansas Senate GOP Leaders Eye Turnpike-KDOT Merger

By: AP (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: AP (Posted by Melissa Brunner)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Republican leaders in Kansas Senate say they're hoping to revive GOP Gov. Sam Brownback's plan to merge the Kansas Turnpike Authority with the Department of Transportation.

Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita said Friday she believes the Legislature doesn't have enough financial oversight of the 236-mile turnpike.

Brownback argues that merging the authority into KDOT would produce savings. Under his plan, the secretary of transportation would become the authority's board chairman and CEO.

The plan inspired fears that tolls would be used to plug unrelated budget holes. The administration says that's not in its plans.

The House passed a bill this week to expand the specific authorization the two agencies have to contract with each other.

Turnpike CEO Michael Johnston said it's the role of lawmakers to set policy.


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