K-10’s future requires local watchfulness
Kansas Highway 10 is De Soto's lifeline. There is not any other street, road or highway anywhere near the standard of a secondary state highway serving the community. Alternative routes in and out of De Soto, even its 1936 predecessor, are narrow, hilly and would add miles and minutes to many trips to frequent destinations. Any extra traffic on them would require improvement -- a burden that would probably fall mostly on local governments.
It could be expected, then, that De Soto residents and officials would be concerned about the prospect of marooning the community and its residents on a toll road, such as was suggested earlier this month during a Senate hearing in Topeka. It would be unfair to retroactively convert the vital link that is K-10 to a toll highway. We would hope and expect lawmakers in communities served by the road to fight any such suggestion.
The same can't be said for applying tolls to newly added lanes, especially if those lanes are made to serve the purpose of relieving congestion and air pollution by encouraging public transportation and car pools. The added lanes could be viewed as a new service for those who want to drive on them.
We'll hear much more talk of highway improvement and financing methods as the current Kansas comprehensive transportation plan winds down toward its 2009 expiration and the Kansas Department of Transportation Legislature start to seriously consider the next list of state highway upgrades.
De Soto's leaders need to follow those talks closely and strongly voice what they will and will not accept.