Kansas governor introduces new FORWARD transportation plan

The plan includes a flexible rolling program where major projects are selected every two years 

February 13, 2020
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly introduces new FORWARD transportation plan
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly introduces new FORWARD transportation plan. Image: @GovLauraKelly via Twitter

Gov. Laura Kelly and Kansas DOT (KDOT) Secretary Julie Lorenz this week announced a new transportation program—dubbed FORWARD—as part of the Transportation Day activities at the Kansas State Capitol.

“Key features of FORWARD include a flexible, responsive rolling program where major projects are selected every two years rather than once a decade,” Gov. Kelly said in a statement. “FORWARD also calls for completion of delayed T-WORKS projects; transit, aviation, rail, bike, and pedestrian solutions that solve problems in rural and urban Kansas; and more partnerships with local communities to increase both local matches and the number of improvements we can make.”

FORWARD will also provide more resources to communities through new initiatives such as the Cost-Share, Local Bridge Improvement, and Strategic Safety programs to help address Kansans’ pent-up demand for transportation investments, Secretary Lorenz said.

Both Gov. Kelly and Secretary Lorenz stressed the need to end transfers out of the State Highway Fund. Over the past several years, more than $2 billion has been transferred, causing the condition of the state’s highway system to decline. 

A fact sheet provided by KDOT explained that FORWARD implements a two-year rolling program approach, allowing Kansas to future-proof its investment. This would mean highway modernization and expansion projects would be selected every two years; there would be limited alternative delivery contracting to deliver projects faster; and preservation would be prioritized.

KDOT also says FORWARD would provide more flexible annual commitments to modal and set-aside programs, while the 10-year commitments remain in place. It would also provide a streamlined application process. The department says this would allow resources to be directed to the most pressing needs statewide each year.

Finally, KDOT says FORWARD will leverage partnerships with local communities to generate more local match and input on practical improvements and project phasing to stretch dollars further. KDOT says additional consideration for construction selection will be given to projects where communities provide a local match, phase a project, or use practical improvements.

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SOURCE: Office of Gov. Laura Kelly / Kansas DOT

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