City reviews funding request for transportation study

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met this week, Leavenworth city commissioners received a request for funding for a countywide transportation study.

Greg Kaaz, chairman of the Leavenworth County Port Authority, is seeking $90,000 from the city to help pay for the study. Kaaz also plans to request funding from the cities of Lansing, Basehor and Tonganoxie as well as the county government and Kansas Department of Transportation.

Leavenworth city commissioners took no formal action during Tuesday’s meeting, which was a study session. But they reached a consensus to move forward with supporting the project.

City Manager Paul Kramer said the issue will come back to the commission at some point for formal approval of the funding.

The Port Authority has been tasked by the Board of County Commissioners to lead the effort for a countywide transportation study.

Kaaz said an engineering firm will be hired to complete the study. A request for proposals has been prepared for the project but not yet released.

He said study will take into account various previous transportation studies and develop a prioritized list of transportation options for the county.

“There’s a lot of options,” he said. “We need to figure out which is the best one for Leavenworth County and then concentrate on that.”

He said the countywide study will involve public comment.

Kaaz said Kansas Department of Transportation officials have expressed support for the countywide study. He said KDOT officials indicated the department may provide funding for the study but did not give an exact amount.

Kaaz said he is first visiting with the governing bodies of the county’s four largest cities. Leavenworth is the first city he has approached.

“Once I get all of the cities on board, hopefully, then I’m going to go to the county and request funding from the county,” he said.

He plans to visit with the Board of County Commissioners on May 12.

If the county agrees to provide financial support, Kaaz will approach KDOT for funding.

“We would expect that KDOT would contribute,” he said.

Kaaz said he plans to ask $150,000 each from KDOT and the county. He also plans to ask for $30,000 from the Lansing City Council and $15,000 each from the cities of Basehor and Tonganoxie.

Kaaz believes the study will cost between $400,000 and $600,000. The amount of money being requested totals $450,000.

If additional funding is needed, Kaaz hopes KDOT and the county will be able to make up the difference.

Leavenworth Mayor Nancy Bauder said a highway (U.S. 73-Kansas 7 Highway) that leads from Leavenworth to Kansas City has multiple traffic lights.

“We need something that is more accessible to our major highways in the Kansas City area,” she said.

Kramer said there are grants available for highway projects. But a countywide transportation plan is needed in order to obtain funding from the state, Mid-America Regional Council or the federal government.

In other business

The Leavenworth City Commission:

• Received a briefing about a proposed change to regulations concerning temporary signs for public service organizations.

• Received an update about the Leavenworth Convention & Visitors Bureau.