Archive for Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Street funding dilemma sends city officials to D.C.

February 20, 2008

After a whirlwind trip to the nation's capital, Tonganoxie city officials have high hopes that their meetings with U.S. representatives from Kansas could garner federal funds for the 14th Street intersection with U.S. Highway 24-40.

Wednesday night Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez, Tonganoxie City Council member Jim Truesdell, as well as a delegation from Leavenworth County returned from Washington, D.C. where they met with Republican Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, and their staffs. The group also met with Congresswoman Nancy Boyda, her staff as well as the staff of Congressman Dennis Moore.

Truesdell said he felt the representatives were receptive to the city's proposal.

"I was encouraged by their response," he said about their meetings. "I was impressed with the representatives and their staffs. They were very informed. They knew about Leavenworth County and they know we are growing."

The city came to the meetings to ask for $993,875 of a nearly $3 million project that would add turn, passing and deceleration lanes at the intersection. The improvements come from suggestions from the U.S. 24-40 Corridor Management Study that was sponsored by the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Mid-American Regional Council, Tonganoxie, Basehor and Leavenworth County.

Yanez said he thought representatives found the project more appealing because it had KDOT's blessing and because of what it would do for the intersection.

"They all agree that this project has merits particularly for traffic safety," Yanez said.

Yanez also felt Tonganoxie had a good chance because they had never asked for federal funding before.

The city will find out in March if their proposal was successful and how much money they will be receiving from the government. Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator said that if the city does not receive any funding, the remaining cost of the project could be paid by a combination of development costs, funding from the corridor study or more money from the city.

Traveling with Yanez and Truesdell were Chris Donnelly and Steve Jack from the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, Scott Miller, Leavenworth city manager, and J.C. Tellefson, Leavenworth County commissioner.

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