Governor Laura Kelly and Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz today visited the site of a Newton, Kansas, Cost Share project to announce action is underway to provide support to Kansas communities for much-needed infrastructure programs and services through the fast and direct distribution of more than $84.6 million in highway funding KDOT received from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) of 2021.
“The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Act funding allows us to make smart investments in a wide range of infrastructure programs and services across the state – leaving no Kansas county behind,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “These dollars will not only support necessary infrastructure repairs in our communities, but will also play a key role in our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by creating jobs and promoting economic growth. My administration is committed to making sound, forward-thinking decisions that ensure continued, wise investment in those things that grow our economy and make Kansas a great place to live, to work, and raise a family.”
The CRRSAA, as approved by Congress and signed into law on December 27, 2020, included $10 billion for state highway and transportation systems. Kansas received $94 million in total. $9.1 million of those funds will collectively go directly to the Kansas City and Wichita metro areas, as federally designated. KDOT will distribute the remaining funds to cities and counties to restore motor fuel tax revenue losses, advance preservation work, and increase funding for popular local partnership programs.
“Partnerships are a guiding principle of the IKE program, and that’s why I’m proud that we are sharing these dollars with local governments,” Secretary Lorenz said. “Because funding wrapped in red tape is not relief, we’re eliminating federal reporting responsibilities and red tape for local communities thus enabling them to deliver services and projects faster and more easily.”
Governor Kelly said multiple options were considered for how to best invest the CRRSA funds. The Kelly Administration, in collaboration with KDOT, ultimately selected an approach allowing the accomplishment of three goals:
- Invest the maximum amount of dollars into our economy in the least amount of time.
- Invest dollars in every Kansas county, leaving no part of the state behind.
- Target additional economic opportunities in the communities that have been hit the hardest during the pandemic.
Kansas motor fuel tax revenues have declined by $37.5 million since April 2020. Because a third of this revenue is earmarked for local communities, $12.5 million will be distributed to make local government budgets whole. All Kansas counties and over 600 cities receive funding through the Special City County Highway Fund formula.
The City of Newton, the site of today’s announcement, was used as an example by Governor Kelly to demonstrate how coronavirus relief funds will have a positive impact at the local level. In July 2020, Newton was awarded a $2 million project as part of the KDOT Cost Share Program for the extension of streets to serve new development. Relief funding will be distributed across KDOT programs such as Cost Share.
The infusion of federal relief funds will enable KDOT to advance a minimum of $25 million in preservation construction lettings by December 2021 and to invest $10-15 million in increased funding for local partnership programs such as Cost Share, Local Bridge, Technology and High Risk Rural Roads. Priority will be given communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.