Stimulus dollars created jobs, fixed state roads


June 25, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Kansas received $378 million in federal stimulas funds for transportation projects. Deb Miller, state secretary of transportation, said the money brought 3,300 transportation jobs to the state in May, producing a monthly payroll of $4.4 million.
The Topeka Capital-Journal said the job increase was 13 percent over April and 47 percent since March.
The additional jobs are important. Just as important is the fact that the stimulus money allowed the state to do road maintenance and construction that it could not have afforded on its own.
Because the 2010 Legislature created and funded a new highway program, KDOT will be able to continue its maintenance and improvement programs. Part of the 1-cent increase in the sales tax will be devoted to KDOT. Bonds also will be sold to finance the program.
When lawmakers re-turn to Topeka in January, thought should be given to raising the highway fuels tax to take the place of the general sales tax revenues going to KDOT.
The state will need all the additional revenue the sales tax raises to pay the other costs of state government.  It is appropriate to pay for transportation costs from highway fuels taxes and registration fees on cars and trucks. Letting the users of highways pay highway costs has always made sense.
In the meantime, the Kansas economy will continue to benefit im-mediately and in the long term from the millions of federal stimulus dollars spent on state highways and roads.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.

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