A $50 million cut in highway maintenance work will mean higher costs down the road for motorists, Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller said last week.

The cut in funds, which was part of Gov. Mark Parkinson’s reaction to plummeting state tax revenue, brings the total reduction in transportation funding since January to $229 million, Miller said.

Miller said the transfer to the general fund of $25 million this year and $25 million next year will result in the elimination of highway preservation projects, such as resurfacings, and important equipment purchases. 

“These reductions will have long-term fiscal consequences that will require additional spending in future fiscal years to return the system to good condition,” she said.

Miller said as a result of the cuts, the Kansas Department of Transportation’s fiscal 2010 construction budget is now down to $279 million, or about 40% of its average annual construction spending during the past 10 years.

KDOT also will reduce by 50% its planned equipment purchases, including dump trucks; halt several studies; and indefinitely suspend the purchase of equipment for a Wichita traffic management project.

“Cutting projects will impact jobs, not only of contractors but of suppliers,” Miller said. “We’re going to do a lot fewer maintenance jobs and that will result in rougher roads and more vehicle maintenance.”

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