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KDOT awards $12 million to city, county transportation projects via cost-share initiative

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Big winners: Russell, Atchison and Brown counties, cities of Halstead and Salina

TOPEKA — Atchison County Commissioner Casey Quinn said several unsuccessful applications were submitted for a piece of cost-share funding from the Kansas Department of Transportation to make safety improvements to well-traveled Ottawa Road.

On Tuesday, the county landed the big prize — a $1 million grant from KDOT to deal with the two-lane artery through the county relied on by residents, emergency vehicles, school buses, commercial vehicles and farmers. Under the KDOT program, local governments provide a minimum 15% cost share for their projects.

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“With the rising cost of infrastructure improvements today, it is difficult at times, and feels defeating, when we look at the cost of long term road improvements compared to our resources,” Quinn said. “However, we never gave up. We asked for feedback, regrouped and found ways to improve our application each time. This is our time and I am so excited for our community to hear the news.”

Gov. Laura Kelly announced 16 projects that secured a chunk of $12 million allocated to this round of KDOT’s cost-share program. The state investment leveraged $7.2 million in community dollars to address projects on the fall 2023 list. KDOT had 67 applications from local government requesting $54 million in state aid.

“No one can better pinpoint a community’s transportation needs than the people who actually live and work there,” the governor said. “That’s why we’ve partnered with local communities to invest a total of $19 million in projects that will improve safety, support job retention, relieve congestion and make it easier to travel across the state.”

The cost-share initiative woven into the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, or IKE, was launched in 2019. So far, the state selected 165 projects to receive $140 million in state funds attached to nearly $100 million in local dollars.

Calvin Reed, secretary of the state Department of Transportation, said requests ranged from sidewalk improvements, street safety upgrades, railroad overhauls to airport bypasses.

“We recognize that the program has high expectations,” Reed said. “Selection criteria for this program includes economic development opportunities, local contributions, regional priorities and geographic distribution.”

Three projects authorized in this round received $1.5 million each from KDOT, including the reconstruction of North Street in Halstead, West Magnolia Road in Salina and Hell Creek Bridge in Russell County. In Brown County, $957,000 was earmarked for rehabilitation of 270th Street. Haysville was awarded $890,000 for the South Broadway pedestrian pathway project and Deerfield secured $750,000 for fixes to of Main Street.

Dee McKee, a member of the Pottawatomie County Commission, said she was pleased KDOT directed $560,000 to the county for repair of Louisville Road Bridge over Rock Creek. The road, noteable for a three-foot hole that emerged recently, connects students to a new school, she said.

“Pottatawatomie County roads are very, very important for our agricultural, educational and for our development,” she said. “Pottawatomie County has skin in the game. We are willing to support this process because of the safety of our kids and our communities.”

Baldwin City Mayor Casey Simoneau said he appreciated KDOT’s commitment of $282,000 for pedestrian crossing improvements at U.S. 56 Highway.

“This crossing is personal to me,” he said. “It was the first neighborhood that I raised my oldest son in. This project will allow this neighborhood to connect to the rest of the community after being disconnected since it was developed in the early 2000s.”

Other projects on KDOT’s latest list: Abilene’s North Van Buren Street intersection, $724,000; Harper’s Ash and Walnut street restoration, $636,000; Hillsboro’s Adams Street improvement, $585,000; Parsons’ Main Street sidewalk replacement, $583,000; and Clark and Comanche county pavement project, $590,000. In addition, Syracuse received $25,000 for street signs and Jennings was provided $32,000 for street paving.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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