Lawmakers approve partial merger of Turnpike, KDOT

Kansas Department of Transportation

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) — Lawmakers have approved a partial merger of the Kansas Turnpike Authority and the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The bill now heads to Gov. Sam Brownback, who included the merger in his proposed budget. Supporters say the consolidation will save the state money.

But critics feared the proposal was an attempt to move toll money from the turnpike to the highway department. The concern was the highway department has traditionally had money taken from it to fund other state operations. Lawmakers changed the legislation to essentially restrict toll money to turnpike roads and bridges.

Critics also said the legislation was aimed at getting rid of the Democrat that oversees the Kansas Turnpike — something Brownback’s office denied. Under the bill, the secretary of transportation will be in charge of the KTA. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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