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KS Transportation Funding Might Help Balance Budget

Kansas lawmakers may dip into highway funding to help balance the state's budget. As Stephen Koranda reports, the state Senate's top budget write say transportation money could help fill the gap.

Andover Republican Senator Ty Masterson chairs the Ways and Means Committee. He says transportation is a big expense to the state and Kansas has already built a healthy system.

"Pulling back to a point of preservation, and not this aggressive expansion, wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. And it wouldn't be prolonged," says Masterson.

Bob Totten, with the Kansas Contractors Association, says he believes there is support in the legislature for the current 10-year, $8 billion transportation plan.

He's concerned cutting transportation funding could cost jobs and hurt industries like agriculture.

"Agriculture is #1 in the state of Kansas, and you've got to have a product that can get to the markets outside the state," says Totten.

Lawmakers will work on filling the budget hole when they return to Topeka in January.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.