DALLAS — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's plan to raise the limit on transportation bond debt to reduce a revenue shortfall was stricken in a state House committee vote.
The unanimous vote by the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee would allow the Kansas Department of Transportation to retain $280 million that Brownback wanted transferred to help cover budget deficits in the fiscal year 2016 and 2017 budgets.
KDOT Secretary Mike King said the committee's action would keep KDOT's funding less reliant on bonding to finance state road projects in years ahead.
Rep. Russell Jennings, R-Lakin, offered the motion to prevent the sweep of revenue from KDOT.
Jennings said KDOT has been required to surrender $2.1 billion since 2010 for other government operations. Further raids on the department's revenue stream would force the state to take on greater debt or delay projects, he said.
Brownback's budget would have shifted $116 million from KDOT to the general treasury in 2016. Another $20 million would have come from KDOT to pay debt service on bonds for renovation of the Capitol renovation and $4 million for a subsidy of airline ticket prices at Wichita's airport.
In fiscal 2017, Brownback's proposal called for $117 million marked for the treasury, $20 million for renovation debt and $3 million for airfare rate reductions from the KDOT sweep.
Rep. Annie Tietze, D-Topeka, said lawmakers had been dipping into the "Bank of KDOT" for too long.
Work on the 2016-17 budgets comes after the Legislature Kansas legislators approved a stop-gap plan Feb. 5 for closing a shortfall in the state's current budget that runs through June 30.
The plan erases most of a $344 million current-year deficit by diverting money from highway projects and other special funds into the state's general fund.