Transportation plan still a piggy bank for state

When former Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller resigned a little more than a year ago, she warned that the state needed to stop raiding the transportation plan to pay its bills. Gov. Sam Brownback agreed, saying that the state needed to seek alternatives to another massive sweep of KDOT. But Brownback’s new budget plan would use $96.6 million in highway funds to pay for school district transportation costs in both of the next two fiscal years. It also would transfer $10 million to pay for special education aid next fiscal year and $43 million the following year. Other transfers include $9.7 million for mental health services, $5 million for Wichita’s airfare subsidy, and $3.5 million for a new crime laboratory. All total, Brownback’s budget would transfer $265 million next fiscal year from the highway fund and $295 million the following year.