Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force – Olathe and Manhattan meetings

Preservation Needs, Funding Methods and Economic Development – The final regional stakeholder meetings took place on Nov. 8 and 9 in Olathe and Manhattan. The presentations covered a variety of topics — including declining pavement health and the need to fund preservation, the economic impact of transportation and KDOT initiatives and innovations. KDOT also shared information on how projects are prioritized and selected. 

Paula Gough, District Engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Northeast District, presented case studies on Transportation Development Districts and other cost-share programs that are used to address transportation needs in Missouri communities. Additionally, Suzanne Loomis, City Engineer and Director of Public Works for the City of Newton, presented information on local roads and the transportation needs of cities in Kansas. Presentations from the meetings can be found here.

Local Testimony Consistent with Themes from Across Meetings – During public testimony, many key themes from previous meetings continued.  At the meeting in Olathe, we heard about the critical role transportation plays in encouraging economic development in Johnson County.  We heard about the need for the expansion of U. S. 69 in Overland Park as well as expansion of other corridors in Olathe and Lenexa.  Other stakeholders also shared the importance of safety improvements and the need for improved bike and pedestrian facilities. 

In Manhattan, numerous stakeholders provided testimony on the need for improved safety on K-177, a vital connection for Manhattan and nearby communities. We also heard about improvements needed for K-31. Stakeholders and local community officials also discussed transportation as an economic driver and the importance of bicycle and pedestrian facilities as connectors to the overall transportation system.

Task Force Recommendations.  The next step in this process is for Task Force members to meet, discuss the information that was shared during the regional meetings and develop recommendations for the next Kansas transportation program.

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