The Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force held its first regional meeting last week in Salina. Here are some highlights:
Lots of people. More than 100 people attended the Sept. 6 meeting. Attendees included legislators, industry leaders and local government representatives. KDOT staff presented information on the T-WORKS progress, including the successes and challenges of the program and current system conditions of the state’s highways and bridges. Presentations from the meeting can be found on the Kansas Legislature .
Lots of questions. Task Force members asked several important questions, which set the stage for thoughtful consideration about facts, trends and trade-offs in future meetings. From highways that need to take new technology into consideration to revisiting popular local programs such as the Revolving Fund and County Bridge Program, it’s clear there’s a lot to cover in upcoming meetings.
Lots of testimony topics. Following lunch, the task force co-chairs opened the meeting for public testimony. We heard about how Salina benefits from being located at the intersection of two interstates and how important their airport is to the local economy; how Lindsborg could develop if an interchange was added near the community; and how difficult it is to hire transit drivers due to low wages and how important those trips are for medical care.
Several speakers talked about how KDOT programs have helped address local city and county transportation needs – from low-cost loans to the Federal Funds Exchange program that allows them to use less restrictive state funds instead of federal funds. An Economic Lifelines representative discussed the organization’s diverse membership and the support the organization has shown for past transportation programs. The group stands ready to support future programs.
The next meeting will be Sept. 12 at Memorial Hall in Kansas City. Topics will include demographic and economic trends and impacts as well as a look at modal programs such as aviation, transit, bike and pedestrian. We encourage Kansas residents to attend a local meeting and provide public testimony about why transportation is important to you, what’s working well and what could be improved.