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Governor Jeff Colyer Announces Delayed Road Projects Moving Forward

(File photo from KCUR Radio)

Kansas will be restarting some transportation projects delayed during the fiscal crunch of recent years. An on again, off again project in southeast Kansas is on again.

Governor Jeff Colyer said Thursday that a stretch of Highway 69 leading to Pittsburg will finally be expanded to 4 lanes. It's a project announced in the past but then later delayed.

Colyer said the update will have economic and safety benefits.

“This has been something that we have been working and talking about for years," Colyer said at an event in Pittsburgh. "That’s what this is about, is getting things done.”

The top Democrat in the Kansas Senate, Anthony Hensley, called this an election year tactic.

"They have swept $3.2 billion from the highway fund, which directly resulted in the delay of the Highway 69 project," Hensley said.

Lawmakers rolled back most of the the 2012 tax cuts last year to help stabilize the state budget. Along with that comes a smaller funding sweep from the state highway fund. That strategy has been used in the past to help balance the Kansas budget.

A spokesperson for KDOT said improved finances are allowing some delayed projects to go online. There had been 23 projects delayed, which were part of the statewide transportation plan, T-WORKS.

“We’ve taken three off the list,” KDOT Communications Director Laurie Arellano said in an interview. “They’re the most shovel-ready and the most fiscally feasible projects.”

Those include updating two sections of Highway 69 and improving the K-47 interchange in Montgomery County.

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