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New KDOT Head Wants to Invest in Maintenance and Staff

Kansas News Service file photo
Kansas News Service file photo

The next head of the Kansas Department of Transportation is looking to invest more in maintenance of the highway system and rebuild agency staff.

Democratic Governor-elect Laura Kelly has picked Julie Lorenz as interim head of KDOT.

Lorenz will be taking the helm after years of lawmakers diverting road funding to balance the state budget. She hopes that will slow, but asid the state’s finances are still recovering.

“We also have to take a measured, balanced approach. It’s going to take a while. It’s a long road to recovery," she said. "I think we just have to all work together and try to stabilize and move forward.”

Michael White of the Kansas Contractors Association says Lorenz showed her ability to collaborate when she helped shepherd through a 10-year Kansas transportation plan known as T-Works.

"She clearly had that engagement with the Legislature to pass it and she clearly wants to work with the industry to move things forward,” White said.

Lorenz says she'll be consulting agency staff, lawmakers and local officials as Kansas plots out its transportation future.

Stephen Koranda has more:

Stephen Koranda is KPR's Statehouse reporter.