Good Afternoon Stakeholders,

Today, I joined Governor Laura Kelly in Andover to announce 11 expansion and modernization highway projects totaling more than $520 million that we’re moving into the IKE construction pipeline. You can view the list and learn more about these projects here.

For these communities, this announcement is a long-time coming. To advance to the construction pipeline, projects must first be selected for the IKE development pipeline. To make it into our development pipeline, these projects had to gain regional support. These projects scored high in engineering factors related to safety, traffic volumes or pavement condition. For the expansion projects, they must also rate high for their potential economic development impact. AND communities must provide a local match for expansion projects to advance to the construction pipeline. I want to thank all the local leaders who worked hard to earn the trust of their constituents to invest these tax dollars in projects whose impact will be felt locally and across the region. 

We plan to let all these projects to construction by 2023. That could change if we continue to see high construction bid prices. Thanks to the bipartisan support of the legislature and the leadership of Governor Kelly, transportation is fully funded for the first time in a decade. But just because we have money, doesn’t mean we should spend it. These are your dollars, and we have a responsibility to invest them wisely. Depending on market trends, we may need to extend letting schedules to ensure we’re getting competitive prices. We will “brake” or accelerate depending on what makes sense for Kansas at the time. We’re also working with the construction industry to identify ways we can better manage risks and ensure we’re delivering projects as cost-effectively as possible for Kansans.  

Fortunately, Kansas is well-positioned to navigate this uncertainty thanks to the IKE program that you all helped create. IKE was informed by our past experiences AND built for the future. Rather than be locked in to 10-year set list of major projects, which proved problematic in the past, we’ve opted for a rolling program approach that allows us to add projects to our pipeline to ensure we’re well positioned to address emerging needs. AND it gives us the flexibility to make sure we’re not overstocking our construction or development pipelines. 

It’s for all these reasons that we remain confident in moving these 11 projects into the construction pipeline AND in our ability to deliver them

That doesn’t mean the road ahead will always be smooth, but fortunately we’re not traveling it alone. We’re in this together. Partnerships are the foundation of IKE. And thanks to your support, we’re not only prepared to meet this moment but also seize future opportunities.

Thank you for your continued support of Kansas transportation. This is a great day for Kansas! 

Julie L. Lorenz

Secretary of Transportation

Director of Kansas Turnpike Authority

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