Daily Archives: Aug. 25, 2013

Does Kansas have one transportation agency or two?

Did the Kansas Turnpike Authority and Department of Transportation merge after all? As the bill cleared the wary Legislature, its promoters stressed that it was not the full merger that Gov. Sam Brownback had wanted, and the governor said when he signed the bill in April that “there will still be two transportation agencies in Kansas.” But Brownback told the Wall Street Journal in June that Kansas is “combining the turnpike authority with the overall highway department in the state” and told the Pittsburg Morning Sun this month that “we think we’ve got quite a bit of money we can come up with in moving those two organizations together.” The bill says that the secretary of transportation shall serve as the director of operations of the authority and mentions KDOT and KTA contracting with each other, but that the “Kansas Turnpike Authority shall retain its separate identity, powers and duties as an instrumentality of the state.” Maybe the new reality will be made clear at the governor’s Sept. 5 transportation summit at Emporia State University, to be co-hosted by the governor and Transportation Secretary Mike King.

Discerning eyes see plenty of beauty in Kansas

So a Business Insider poll declared Kansas as having the worst scenery in the nation, while picking neighboring Colorado’s as the best? Well, maybe if you need to be hit over the head by a view to see its beauty. But those with a discerning eye know that mountains, oceans or forests don’t have a monopoly on scenic splendor. The beauty of Kansas is subtle, but the state’s lush open spaces, diverse topography and abundant wildlife can inspire awe – in the spacious and undulating Flint Hills (in photo), of course, but in many other places in the state. Don’t believe it? Check out The Eagle’s online gallery of images of Kansas at its least ugly.

So they said

“I don’t like this bill, but I’ve decided to quit hollerin’ about it.” – Sen. Pat Roberts (in photo), R-Kan., speaking in Garden City about his hope that a dispute about food stamps can be resolved so the new farm bill can pass both chambers

“I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” – Roberts again, patting a sedated spotted leopard at Great Bend’s Brit Spaugh Zoo

“I get my back up when people say that.” – Gov. Sam Brownback, on the Pittsburg Morning Sun’s suggestion that his administration has cut K-12 funding

“Wonder if Pres. Obama’s new dog Sunny gets its own plane too?” – Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, on Twitter