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The World Economic Development Forum (WEDF) kicked off in Rwanda on the 15th, September 2014; this being the first time the high?profile event is held in Africa. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Geneva based International Trade Centre (ITC), the convener of the forum, which aims to boost competitiveness by empowering SMEs. The two day event which ends today will see top business leaders, policy makers, heads of trade support institutions and international organizations from around the globe meeting to agree on ways to boost inclusive sustainable development via trade, increase employment and economic growth, and multiply the number of SMEs worldwide. At the start of the event themed “SMEs: Creating Jobs through Trade,” ITC’s Executive Director, Arancha Gonzalez, delivered some striking opening remarks to welcome the participants at the Roundtable of the Global Platform on Sourcing from Women Vendors.
Explaining why the Roundtable was part of the forum in Rwanda, he said the following; “This is not a symbolic gesture. He further emphasized the need for a focus on “women?owned SMEs” giving three facts to substantiate his position. Secondly, he noted that women?owned enterprises in the U.S employ more people than the largest 500 companies combined and that SMEs as a whole provide up to 80 percent of the employment opportunities available today in Sub?Saharan Africa. Seeing the massive contributions that can potentially come from today’s women, he called for broad based partnerships between the private sector, governments, industry associations, international organizations and civil society to provide the necessary resources for women for the further empowerment of women.
As the WEDF sees more events and discussions today, new insights and policies to further boost the number and contribution of SMEs are expected. The City of Dublin, County of Laurens Economic Development Authority is a small staff and a body of volunteers that represent the professional and personal integrity of the community. Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, said those dire predictions stem from discussions with Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King at meetings during the 2015 legislative session. Budget cuts have already resulted in nearly $300 million in maintenance projects postponed and Secretary King stated last year; further cuts or transfers would result in projects not being completed. Johnston, a former KDOT Secretary, said the equivalent of $1 million per day has been taken from the state's transportation agency for the past several years and that preliminary budget submissions show this trend continuing in both FY 2016 and FY 2017. TOPEKA-- Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, today announced Michael Johnston has been slected as their new Chief Executive Officer. A former state senator from Parsons, Michael Johnston served 14 years in the Kansas Senate, including service as a legislative leader. T-WORKS, the state's 10 year, $8 billion transportation plan, has proven to be a vital program for all areas of the state, creating needed jobs, spurring economic development and ensuring safety on Kansas roads. TOPEKA-- Economic Lifelines, the state's leading transportation coalition, strongly opposes an additional $8 million transfer from KDOT announced today by Shawn Sullivan, Kansas Budget Director. Since its passage and with this transfer, over $2.1 billion has been diverted from transportation to fund other areas of the budget, which has already resulted in nearly $300 million in postponed maintenance projects.
Whereas, Economic Lifelines believes any new funding available to the Kansas Department of Transportation should be used for any projects postponed as a result of budget cuts, and not used to allow further transfers from the highway fund. Be it resolved that the Board of Directors for Economic Lifelines reiterates its support for the T-WORKS program and restoration of the funds that have been diverted and opposition to any further transfer of funds or changes to the statutory funding provisions approved to complete the 10 year program.

In a random sample of five hundred likely voters in the state of Kansas, 95 percent believe T-WORKS should be fully funded by the Kansas Legislature with 69 percent opposing the diversion of transportation funds to pay for budget shortfalls. T-WORKS has proven to be a vital program for all areas of the state, creating needed jobs in what has been a slow growing Kansas economy and providing infrastructure needed to allow economic development.
We urge you to support T-WORKS and the many benefits it provides and look forward to working with you to protect the transportation projects vital to local communities and the Kansas economy. T-WORKS is a 10 year, $8.2 billion transportation program passed during the 2010 Legislative Session. We encourage our entire membership and all Kansans interested in transportation issues to take the time to find out the position of their local candidates regarding T-WORKS. Continuing a dialogue with lawmakers and legislative candidates about the positive impact of T-WORKS is the best way we can protect the funding stream and the projects that will help grow Kansas.
Economic Lifelines will continue to monitor state revenues and their potential impact on the State Highway Fund or the T-WORKS program. Legislative Retirements: Following the deadline for filing for legislative office, there are a number of legislators who will not be returning next year.
However, federal funding does constitute nearly a quarter of T-WORKS overall revenue, approximately $345 million annually and it is an essential component to completing the T-WORKS projects as planned. Lawmakers worked through a number of bills this week in anticipation of next week's first adjournment.
Next week, lawmakers will continue negotiations in conference committees and focus on a school finance proposal to address the concerns outlined in the Gannon v.
The Kansas Department of Transportation is proud to be in the fourth year of the Transportation Works for Kansas (T-WORKS) program. During state fiscal years 2011-2013, KDOT let approximately $483 million of modernization and expansion projects. As one of our valued transportation stakeholders, you know how important transportation is to our state. Some of you may be following national news reports about the solvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) - the source of nearly a quarter (23 percent) of T-WORKS funding.
While we at KDOT are doing all we can to prepare for a potential federal funding shortfall, we are committed to continuing the dialogue with our federal colleagues about the best solutions for Kansas. Economic Lifelines has also been working on a social media campaign (Facebook & Twitter) to make known the many ways in which transportation projects have positively impacted Kansas communities.
Companies are also attracted by Kansas' transportation infrastructure and educated workforce, Secretary Pat George said. McCarty Family Farms recently constructed a milk processing facility outside of Rexford along US Highway 83. If you don't want to read about how much it would cost to fix this problem, you can click on this link and jsut listen and watch the video report from NBC.

On Thursday, of this week, KDOT Secretary King went before the House Transportation and Public Safety Budget committee to give them an overview of funding sources and expenditures.
Economic Lifelines released our statement on Tuesday with a few added sentences regarding Rep.
Specific projects highlighted for the next two years include the reconstruction of the expansion to six lanes of U.S. First off, he revealed that young women make up a significant portion of the total global unemployment figure. His concluding point was a corroboration of research findings suggesting that women invest up to 90 percent of their earnings in their families and communities compared to just about 40 percent by men. Today's amount is on top of more than $300 million approved cuts through the normal legislative process completed last month. The program was designed to deliver projects throughout the state, make travel safer, and return more than $10 billion to the Kansas economy. T-WORKS is set to deliver 37 major new improvement projects throughout the state, make travel safer, and return more than $10 billion to the Kansas economy.
In the short-term, transportation projects create jobs for construction workers and spread dollars to hundreds of local businesses.
We encourage you as transportation supporters to continue to advocate for long-term funding solutions at the federal level.
Over the next several months, communities will be hosting legislators for Eggs and Issue type events where they will provide legislative updates. This $19M facility supplies processed milk to the Dannon Corporation's yogurt production facility in Texas. In addition to improving access to markets and making the state more competitive, T-WORKS provides an estimated 175,000 construction and supplier jobs over the life of the program. As adjournment came, so did news that Kansas tax collections were $217 million lower than expected for May.
And in the long-term, good transportation provides the infrastructure that allows businesses to expand or locate in Kansas. The two largest T-WORKS projects are now in their early construction phases - the $288 million Johnson County Gateway and the $130 million South Lawrence Trafficway.

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