Politics & Government

Kansas Senate advances bill to increase vehicle registration fees

TOPEKA – Registering your car could soon cost $3.25 more.

The state Senate advanced a bill Monday to add $2 to annual registration fees to pay for a Kansas Highway Patrol staffing and training fund.

Another $1.25 would fund the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, in an effort to replace declining revenue from district and municipal court docket fees.

With 1.7 million registered vehicles on the roads in Kansas, the additional charges would generate $3.4 million for the Highway Patrol and about $2.1 million for the training center in fiscal 2017.

Although there was broad consensus for paying for the Highway Patrol and training center, consideration of the bill touched off a lengthy Senate debate over whether the state should raise registration fees or take money out of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s “modernization surcharge” fund.

Sen. Pat Pettey, D-Kansas City, said the modernization project has been finished and the money from that could be used for the KHP and the KLETC.

Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, opposed taking more money from KDOT, which the last four governors have “swept” for funds to pay for general government expenses.

“It takes money out of a pocket that already has holes in it,” Donovan said.”KDOT is paying for an awful lot of things that are going on in this building.”

He said if the raids on KDOT continue, its motto is going to be “gravel is great.”

Pettey said she agrees with Donovan that too much money is being swept from KDOT to balance the budget.

“I don’t like it,” Pettey said. “I like the idea of ‘feeing’ our folks to death even less.”

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas