Expect more raiding of state’s transportation plan

The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and other groups want the state to stop raiding the transportation program to cover its budget shortfalls. “Dedicated transportation funding streams should only be used for the transportation program,” the chamber’s 2013 agenda states. But Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King indicated last week that he is ready and willing for the state to continue using his department as a piggy bank. He told the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce that his agency has money it will be willing to offer to cover budget shortfalls for the next fiscal year or two, the Hutchinson News reported. “We’ll be asked to give money up for other uses,” King said. He said his department can get by because of low bid prices, inflation and bonding rates. “We’re ahead of the game on the cost side,” he said. But former KDOT Secretary Deb Miller warned when she resigned a year ago that continuing to raid the transportation plan could jeopardize the 10-year highway plan.