Capitol Update: Sen. Skubal sees potential in bill that could fund replacement of U.S. 69 driving surfaces

John Skubal says he’s keeping a close eye on bills related to funding for the state’s transportation infrastructure, especially for the possible replacement of aging surfaces on U.S. 69.

Each legislative session, we provide Shawnee Mission area legislators the opportunity to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. Rep. Stephanie Clayton, Rep. Cindy Neighbor and Sen. Jim Denning are scheduled to send updates this week. We’ll also be publishing a piece from Sen. John Skubal, who was scheduled for last week but was out of town. Sen. Skubal’s column is below.

The Legislature is off to a fast start. We have a bipartisan agreement between the governor and senate majority leader on Medicaid expansion. You can find numerous articles on the agreement. I’m happy we’re going to get to debate this bill.

We recently had a budget presentation that was encouraging. I’m still waiting on a hard copy on which to start working. Most of you know I’m a supporter of KDOT. Kansas has a billion plus dollar asset in infrastructure that requires $500 million a year just to maintain. Existing roads and bridges, airports, maintenance buildings and equipment all require care. Just like changing the oil in our vehicles, these Kansas properties require maintenance. Highway 69 driving surfaces made of concrete and asphalt overlays are past their useful life. This highway carries more vehicles per day than any road in Kansas. I have worked with KDOT to replace the driving surfaces ASAP to keep commuting times as short as possible. Current KTA (Kansas Turnpike Authority) and the city of Overland Park are studying the use of a “hot lane” addition that would add a tolled lane to both sides of 69. If you drive in the “hot lane,” you would pay a toll to do so. If you drive in the two existing lanes you would pay NO TOLL. This is being studied from 167th to 435. gain, there would be no toll booths – electronic tolls only. Much more to come later on this.

I will report on other news in future issues. Emails are answered to the best of my ability unless they are canned responses from special interest groups. I cannot keep up with these.

Thank you for your support and I will continue to keep you updated in future issues.