Legislative Update from Representative Shannon Francis

Newsletter - February 16, 2020

I always enjoying talking to Carolyn and Dave Quillin.  They were in Topeka for Farm Bureau and Conservation District meetings. They are great advocates for conservation, Farm Bureau, civic involvement and rural interests.

It was a pleasure to  visit with Liberal High School Graduate  Rev. Dr. Bobby L. Love Sr.,  while he was in Topeka for the Black History Month program at the capitol.  Rev. Love has served as the Pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Olathe for the past twenty-seven years. He also serves in the cabinet of the Missionary Baptist Convention of Kansas as General Secretary- Chief of Staff.  Pastor Love attended Seward County Community College, Emporia State University, and Western Baptist Bible College, and completed his Graduate Studies at Andersonville Theological Seminary earning his Master of Theology and Doctorate of Ministry in Pastoral Leadership.

Rev. Love is Dean and Professor of the Western Baptist Bible College-Olathe Campus. He is a licensed Pastoral Counselor through the National Christian Counselors Association and provides Christian Counseling services to the community.

Pastor Love is on the Executive National Leadership Team of the African American Leadership Commission, and Co-Chair of the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (More2) for the state of Kansas. He also serves the State of Kansas and Governor as the newly elected Chairman of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission.

Reporting Mechanism for Trains Blocking Roadways

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) created a reporting mechanism for trains blocking roadways. The blocked crossing incident reporter is available to the public where they can post information about trains blocking crossings for long periods of time. FRA said that blocked crossings are more than an inconvenience—they present a safety issue as frustrated drivers may try to beat a train in fear that the crossing could be blocked for a long time and pedestrians may be tempted to cross between stopped rail cars. No federal regulation exists on blocked crossings, and several state statutes have been struck down in court.”

“FORWARD” Transportation Plan

Last week the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) proposed a new transportation program called “FORWARD” as part of the Transportation Day activities at the State Capitol.

A major change in this transportation plane is major projects would be selected every two years rather than only at the beginning of the ten-year program.  It also calls for the completion of delayed T-WORKS projects like our Highway 54 projects.  It has components for transit, aviation, rail, bike, and pedestrian transportation modes.

FORWARD  provides more resources to communities through new initiatives such as the Cost-Share, Local Bridge Improvement, and Strategic Safety programs.

We need to end transfers out of the State Highway Fund. Over the past several years, more than $2 billion has been transferred, causing the condition of the state’s highway system to decline.  Current and future budget proposals to the legislature plan on phasing out these transfers.

A  fact sheet provided by KDOT explained that FORWARD implements a two-year rolling program approach.   This would mean highway modernization and expansion projects would be selected every two years and preservation would be prioritized.

KDOT also said FORWARD would provide more flexible annual commitments to modal and set-aside programs, while the 10-year total commitments remain in place. It would also provide a streamlined application process. The department says this would allow resources to be directed to the most pressing needs statewide each year.

KDOT says FORWARD will leverage partnerships with local communities to generate more local match and input on practical improvements and project phasing to stretch dollars further. KDOT says additional consideration for construction selection will be given to projects where communities provide a local match, phase a project, or use practical improvements.

Next week the Appropriations Committee that I serve on will begin hearings on this new transportation plan.

Our unity as a nation is sustained by free communication of thought and by easy transportation of people and goods.  The ceaseless flow of information throughout the Republic is matched by individual and commercial movement over a vast system of interconnected highways crisscrossing the country and joining at our national borders with friendly neighbors to the north and south.

Together, the united forces of our communication and transportation systems are dynamic elements in the very name we bear—United States.  Without them, we would be a mere alliance of many separate parts.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower,
February 22, 1955

Constituent Services

Please reach out to me any time I can assist you with a state agency concern. I do ask that you send the request to me by email. This ensures that I get the information correctly to the agency we are working with.  You can reach me when I’m in Topeka by email, by phone (785) 296-7466, or by mail at 300 SW 10th Avenue, 274-W, Topeka, KS 66612.  My office at the Capitol is 274W, second floor west wing.

Contact Shannon

At the Legislature

Room: 274-W
State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-296-7466

At Home:

1501 Tucker Court
Liberal, Kansas 67901
Phone: 620-624-9571

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Shannon Francis for State Representative · 1501 Tucker Court · Liberal, KS 67901 · USA

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