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City, county sweeten the deal
Both hope upping local match can win KDOT funds for Airport Road
airport road pic
Both the City of Great Bend and Barton County have agreed to partner on a project to resurface Airport Road. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The Great Bend City Council Monday night approved providing a portion of the local matching funds not to exceed $220,000 for a joint Kansas Department of Transportation cost-share project with Barton County. This covers the portion of SW 40 Avenue known as Airport Road. 

The grant application calls for a 50-50% match with the state for the $800,000 project to mill and overlay the 2.5 mile stretch. The city and the county would split that total, with the city paying more since 60% of the road falls in the city limits.

Two previous 75-25 match (with KDOT covering 75%) applications for the work have failed to gain state approval, City Administrator Kendal Francis said. Officials hope by increasing the local match the application will be more attractive.

The issue was discussed by members of the council and the Barton County Commission during their first-ever joint meeting a week ago Monday night.

“In 2019, in an effort to help alleviate the backlog of deferred maintenance for transportation projects, the state Legislature invested $50 million into the creation of the KDOT Cost Share program which leverages local contributions to help offset maintenance costs,” Francis said. The commission has twice applied for a portion of that for this work and was been denied. 

Around 60% of the four-lane road lies inside of the city limits, the city had agreed to cost-share the portion of local match on the first two applications. “However, their project was not funded,” he said. 

The third round of applications is now open and Airport Road remains in need of repair, he said. The application deadline is Friday.

“To strengthen the application, it is recommended that we increase our local match contribution from 25% to 50% of construction costs,” Francis said. The county engineer estimates construction costs to be approximately $800,000 with design construction inspection fees adding another $40,000 (the fees would also be split equally between the city and county). 

This means the city and the county would divide $400,000. The city’s portion comes to the $220,000 and the county’s $180,000.

The actual final cost would of course be dependent on the bids received. The work involves a quarter-inch milling with a two-inch overlay.

“Staff has reviewed the budget and there is agreement that the city will be able to fund it’s portion,” Francis said. 

The money would come the half-cent city sales tax earmarked for streets. That fund has $700,000 in it now, Francis said.

Initially, $600,000 of that fund was going to target the Community Development Block Grant project to reconstruct much of  Broadway. But, that work has been bumped until next year, freeing that money for this effort, he said.

This will leave about $480,000 for other street projects.

This addressed a concern from Ward 1 Councilwoman Lindsey Krom-Craven.”Townspeople are tired of not seeing anything done with streets.”

Francis assured her that there is a plan in place for street repair. Chip sealing and crack sealing are being done on a set schedule based on priority.