TOPEKA — Kansas' next transportation plan headed to the governor's desk on Tuesday after the House passed a 10-year, $8.2 billion program.
"This is an opportunity for us to have jobs, jobs, jobs and continue to have the jobs," said Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence. "Transportation is crucial to the economy of our state."
The state will not select expansion or economic development transportation projects until February — meaning a newly elected governor will preside over the process.
Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller said she was pleased to see the program passed and noted that the department had been working on developing a new transportation plan for the past three years.
"It is going to ensure that we can protect the investment we've made in our system. It will make our system safer, and it is going to create jobs in the time when we desperately need jobs," she said.
The plan does not stipulate the exact projects that will be paid for. It raises $2.7 billion in new money through a $100 increase in heavy-truck registration, money from the sales tax increase passed by the Senate on Thursday and new bonds totaling about $1.1 billion.
The money will be combined with $5.5 billion in existing roads funds.
"It paves the way for economic recovery in Kansas, and that is a destination towards which we all want to travel," said Rep. Ron Worley, R-Lenexa.
While some lawmakers argued that the transportation package was too big and discussion should be delayed, others said the measure needed to go through this year.
"We need an affordable and sustainable plan," said Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane. "This is bloated and too large for our situation."
Surrounding states spent less per person than the Kansas plan called for, he said.
"At what point are we going to say enough is enough?" DeGraaf asked.
Here is how the measure allots money:
* $4.6 billion for highway preservation
* $100 million for transit projects
* $46 million for aviation
* $40 million in rail projects, at $5 million annually starting in 2013
* $1.6 billion to the Special City County Highway Fund
* $1.8 billion for construction.