TOPEKA – Gov. Mark Parkinson on Tuesday signed what he called “one of the most important jobs bills passed in the history of this state.”
The $8.2 billion bill lays out the framework for improving and maintaining Kansas’ transportation infrastructure over the next decade. No specific projects will be announced until February, by which time a new governor will be making the decisions on what is funded.
Money for the plan – which covers roads, aviation and railroads – comes from a $100 increase in heavy truck registration, funds from the state’s sales tax increase and $1.7 billion in new bonds.
Parkinson, a Democrat, praised lawmakers who voted for a three-year 1 cent increase on the state sales tax rate. A portion of the initial increase will go to fund roads projects and after three years 4/10 of a cent will remain on the sales tax to help pay for projects.
That vote was more important than even a vote for the transportation bill itself, he said.
“A vote for revenue was a vote for jobs,” he said.
He praised the legislature for passing a transportation program would improve the state’s economic development in the future even as other states were cutting back.
“All these other states think they can shrink their way to greatness, we know that is not true,” he said.
While Parkinson signed the actual bill into law at the Topeka event Tuesday, he is traveling around the state – including Wichita on Wednesday – for ceremonial signings.
For more, read Wednesday’s Wichita Eagle.