Damon Gardenhire, press secretary
Speaker Todd Hiett
Capitol: (405) 962.7679
Office of Gov. Brad Henry
Capitol: (405) 521.2342
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan
Capitol: (405) 521-5605
For Immediate Release: May 16,
State Leaders Unveil Bipartisan Agreement on
Road & Bridge Funding Plan
OKLAHOMA CITY (May 16, 2005) – State leaders
today unveiled a bipartisan agreement to provide significant new
investment in Oklahoma’s roads and bridges without raising
The plan would gradually increase annual road and
bridge spending to a sustained level of $170 million – using
surplus revenue in state coffers without raising taxes. The plan
will phase in at $34 million each year until the $170 million
figure is reached in Fiscal Year 2011.
“Oklahoma’s road and bridges have long
needed the help that is provided by this funding plan,”
said Governor Brad Henry. “Ensuring economic success and
public safety means that we must maintain an accessible, dependable
and – above all else – safe network of roads and bridges.
Today’s agreement is emblematic of what can result from
true bipartisanship, and I commend the Senate and House leaders
of both parties for their efforts on behalf of Oklahoma.”
“In announcing this bipartisan agreement
today, we’re making our state’s roads and bridges
a top priority,” said Speaker Todd Hiett (R-Kellyville).
“With this plan, we’ll begin to address safety concerns
about deficient roads and bridges. And we’ll provide Oklahoma
with a much-needed boost for economic development.”
“We stand here together in the spirit of
bipartisanship to tell the people of this state that help is on
the way to make Oklahoma highways safer for our families,”
said Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan (D-Stillwater) “This
significant investment in road and bridge maintenance could not
have happened without bipartisan support from the Legislature.
And today all Oklahomans can be proud of the compromises made
by both parties to make the roads and bridges safer and Oklahoma
a better place to call home.”
Senator Morgan praised Senator Kenneth Corn (D-Poteau)
for offering a responsible funding solution to address the maintenance
needs of the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges.
“Because of the leadership shown by Senator
Corn and support from the Senate Democrats the plan being announced
today uses growth revenue to fund the repair and replacement of
the most dangerous bridges in the country while maintaining funds
to operate critical services upon which all Oklahomans depend,”
Hiett commended Rep. Jim Newport (R-Tulsa), vice
chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee; Rep. Mark
Liotta (R-Tulsa), chair of the House Appropriation Subcommittee
on General Government and Transportation; and Rep. Fred Perry
(R-Tulsa), chair of the House Transportation Committee. The three
House lawmakers worked to develop the road and bridge funding
plan throughout the legislative session.
“Representatives Newport and Liotta have
led the way on this issue for years,” said Hiett. “They
have developed a fiscally-responsible way of funding road and
bridge construction and maintenance needs. And they have offered
an innovative solution that does not place a new burden on taxpayers.”
Under the bipartisan agreement announced today,
the state will also fund debt service obligations for the Oklahoma
Department of Transportation. And the plan spells out a “lockbox”
provision – a feature that will help keep future legislatures
from diverting the new money for roads and bridges to other purposes.
More than 3,000 miles of Oklahoma’s 12,266 miles of highway
in Oklahoma need to be rehabilitated or replaced due to inadequacies.
Oklahoma currently spends about $6,000 per highway mile while
other states, on average, spend $12,000 per mile.