Governor Laura Kelly (D) (seen above) has created the “Kansas Infrastructure Hub” to coordinate the application process and administration among local and state agencies for federal funding from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of IIJA, enacted in November 2021.
[Above photo by the Kansas Governor’s Office]
The Hub – headed by Julie Lorenz, secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation – will identify statewide and regional infrastructure priorities, strategize as to how to maximize investment opportunities, and promote best practices in securing and distributing funding.
Gov. Kelly noted in a statement that Kansas is set to receive close to $3.8 billion in direct funds for transportation, water, energy, and broadband projects from the IIJA and potentially more if local and state agencies apply for grants funded by the legislation.
“Infrastructure creates opportunities, powers businesses, keeps us safe, and connects people to places and each other. It’s the backbone of a healthy economy,” she explained.
“By working to ensure we bring the most money possible to Kansas – and that, once we have it, we distribute it effectively and efficiently – the Kansas Infrastructure Hub will have lasting impacts on our state,” the governor added.
The Hub is considered “at its core” to be a state agency subcabinet working group comprised of representatives from the state’s departments of administration, agriculture, commerce, health and environment, and transportation. It also features participation from the Kansas Corporation Commission and Kansas Water Office.
However, the governor’s office stressed that the Hub is not a governing body, nor will it distribute funds to individual entities. Instead, it will first focus on the direct funds going to state agencies and will then work with business leaders to apply for federal grants.
The Hub will also have an advisory group made of public and private sector leaders and stakeholders across the state that will help determine funding priorities, identify barriers to distributing funds, and communicate the Hub’s work to community members.
Kansas DOT’s Lorenz noted that the Hub offers “an opportunity to solve long-term Kansas infrastructure issues. We can do that by harnessing the power of collaboration between public and private sectors, eliminating red tape, and strategically applying for grant funds. Working together, we’ll accomplish great things for all Kansans.”