Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell says the $200 billion dollars in federal funding included in President Trump’s infrastructure plan announced Monday is a welcome investment—even though the plan puts most of the funding burden on state and local governments.
Mayor Longwell was among state and local officials who met with Trump as he rolled out his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. Longwell later told NPR’s Morning Edition that the federal portion isn’t anything to dismiss.
“The reality is in Wichita we’ve been building a highway for the last 15 years and have spent $1 billion of our own local money with no federal help," he said. "So any additional federal help is welcome.”
Trump’s announcement comes just a week after Wichita and Sedgwick County officials met in Topeka to plead for more money from the state, mainly to support work on the Wichita North Junction Interchange, where I-135, I-235, K-254 and K-96 all meet.
About 93,000 vehicles use the aging interchange every day, and the Kansas Department of Transportation estimates that number will nearly double by 2050. The Kansas Highway Patrol reports an average of four crashes per week in the area.
The county says the first phase of improvements — to replace bridges, for a total of about $91 million — could start as soon as next year.
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