A Kansas House committee is considering legislation to help shore up the budget of the Kansas Highway Patrol. One bill adds a new $2 fees to vehicle registrations, while another diverts registration money to the patrol. A $2 per vehicle registration fee would provide more than $5 million a year for state troopers.
Highway Patrol Superintendent Colonel Mark Bruce says that would allow them to hire 75 additional troopers. Bruce says the enforcement of traffic laws has been affected by the trooper shortage.
“The fact that we have fewer people, we’re less active and effective at taking care of those various situations,” says Bruce.
Some lawmakers say diverting registration fees to help the Highway Patrol would effectively be a budget cut to the State Highway Fund.
A Kansas House committee is considering bills that would bolster funding for the Highway Patrol with the goal of hiring more state troopers. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports.
The proposals would either divert current registration fees to the Kansas Highway Patrol or add a new $2 fee to help hire 75 troopers over three years. Patrol Superintendent Colonel Mark Bruce says the current shortage means they can’t respond to every call, so local police departments have to pick up the slack.
“They have to send officers out to assist us. That pulls them from what their primary focus is, which is going to be more proactive policing, responding to calls within the city,” says Bruce.
Republican Representative Virgil Peck says he agrees they should focus on adding more troopers, but adding a new fee may not be the way to do it.
“Just appropriate to the Kansas Highway Patrol a little more money from the State Highway Fund, rather than placing an additional burden on vehicle owners,” says Peck.
The $2 registration fee would amount to more than $5 million per year for the Highway Patrol.