Lawmakers question $15 million savings in merger of KDOT, Kansas Turnpike
TOPEKA, Feb 05, 2013 (The Wichita Eagle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Frustration over how Gov. Sam Brownback's administration would save $15 million a year by folding the Kansas Turnpike Authority into the Kansas Department of Transportation emerged during a Senate budget meeting Tuesday.
Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, pressed KDOT Sec. Mike King to provide specifics on where the savings comes from, given that administration officials say the merger doesn't portend any big changes in road construction and tolling.
"We have a whole laundry list of things we'd like to visit with," King said about the savings. "As far as did we come up with a 'here are the 19 things that added up to a $15 million' no we do not have that list."
King suggested KDOT and KTA could save money by sharing engineering, pavement, purchasing and insurance services. But he declined to elaborate.
"I can't be specific on where those are at," he said. King said he would start working with the KTA to find those savings if lawmakers pass a bill allowing the KTA to fold into KDOT.
The $30 million in savings in 2014 and 2015 are part of Brownback's proposed budget.
"It seems arbitrary," Kelly said. "It seems like a number just picked out of thin air because that made the books balance."
Andover Republican Sen. Ty Masterson said merging two huge transportation departments will certainly produce savings.
"There has to be a significant amount of duplication," he said. "$15 million, in my opinion, is probably shy of what can probably be saved by just eliminating some duplication."
Reach Brent Wistrom at 785-296-3006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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