Media and special interest groups representing contractors have been sounding a steady drumbeat decrying decreased highway funding in Kansas, but the FY 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) shows spending on transportation projects in 2015 and 2016 was the highest over the last ten years.
Excluding debt service and administration, spending was $1.105 billion in FY 2015 and $1.069 billion last year. Highway contractors and others say more money could have been spent had some money not been transferred to the General Fund, but more data from KDOT shows that legislators and KDOT officials made good use of taxpayer money. The condition of interstate highways and bridges remains above minimum KDOT standards and is consistent with previous years. Other state highways are actually in their best condition since at least 2009. It’s also noteworthy that Reason Foundation recently rated Kansas as having the 3rd most cost-effective highway system in the nation.
Highway contractors and the tax-and-spend crowd may not be getting what they want, but taxpayers seem to be well-served by KDOT and legislators’ highway funding decisions.