Kansas postpones new round of road projects in wake of state’s budget shortfall
Another 10 road projects have been postponed indefinitely in Kansas.
And the state’s financial struggles and budget shortfall continue to be the reason, Kansas Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Swartz said Wednesday.
“We would be doing more projects if there wasn’t some uncertainty right now,” he said. “But we certainly hope that as we go forward, we’ll be able to do more of these projects. But we just don’t know where we stand right now.”
The state had originally planned to put 18 projects with estimated construction costs of around $24.7 million out to bid for work next month. That number has now been slashed to eight projects that will cost $7.25 million.
The move is similar to one the department made last month when it indefinitely postponed 24 road projects that would have cost $32 million.
The state is facing a $348 million budget shortfall this year with a larger shortfall of $582 million on track for the next fiscal year.
The financial uncertainty has led the Transportation Department to continue making decisions on which projects to put out to bid on a month-to-month basis, Swartz said.
“The prudent course of action for KDOT is to assess each month where we are budget wise,” Swartz said.
None of the road projects that the department delayed in the new move were in Johnson or Wyandotte counties.
Bob Totten, executive vice president of the Kansas Contractors Association, said he thinks the delays are a trend that could continue into February and March.
“It’s unfortunate,” Totten said. “We’re the industry, and this is work. This gives us an opportunity to do a job, and of course we want to do the projects because that’s how construction companies make money. But if we don’t have the work, and I’m taking it to the next step, then the people we employ, we don’t need you around.”
The postponed projects include:
▪ A $13.5 million expansion project on U.S. 169 in Montgomery County in southeast Kansas.
▪ A $1.1 million bridge project on U.S. 54 in Butler County near Wichita.
▪ A roughly $745,600 street restoration project in Riley County, where Manhattan is located.