Small communities scramble for KDOT funds

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) — In Great Bend, Main Street connects the city to Highway 281, making it a heavily-traveled road.

In past years, the city received funding from KDOT’s KLINK program to repave roads north of Main Street. Now, officials are rushing to get their application in for more money to fund the other half of the project — amidst questions about those funds.

“If we don’t make the field check by December the 19th, it’s unsure whether we could have money this year…we’d have to wait till next year to do the project,” said city administrator Howard Partington.

The KLINK program helps cities maintain connecting city roads to state or federal highways.

“To us, that’s about a $300,000 hit, so we lose that much money; and for a community of 16,000, that’s a pretty big hit on our budget,” Partington said.

In the last several years, funding has been inconsistent — some years, no money has been awarded.

Now, KDOT is accepting applications, in hopes that the money will be available for 2019.

“We don’t know if they’re going to get funded and when they’re going to get funded, so it really does put a stress on smaller communities,” said Partington.

According to KDOT representatives, they realize uncertainties still exist for funding and expect to know more about future funding in the next few months.

That leaves communities like Great Bend waiting for word.

City officials said they hope the state’s new legislature will see KDOT funding as a priority, and support funding for smaller communities.