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No fast lane to savings from turnpike merger

When Gov. Sam Brownback pushed lawmakers last year to merge the Kansas Turnpike Authority and the Kansas Department of Transportation, he said the merger would save the state $30 million over two years, though he and KDOT officials provided no specifics on those savings. Last week, KDOT Secretary Mike King outlined $17.2 million in savings that he said would occur over the lifetime of the changes, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. The bulk of those savings, $11 million, came from refinancing a KTA bond, which presumably could have been done without a merger. Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, who fiercely opposed the merger, said that he is "keeping his powder dry" about how well it is working. "I told them (KDOT) I will give them three years before I either apologize or take credit for being right," he said.