Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
March 27, 2008
Sen. Jeff Rabon
Rabon Calls for Responsible Transportation
The Co-Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday
emphasized the importance of adhering to a fair and fiscally responsible
approach to transportation funding.
Sen. Jeff Rabon said that while the Legislature must do more to
provide for the state’s long-term transportation funding needs,
but not at the expense of essential services. Rabon was specifically
critical of proposals to divert revenue produced by motor vehicle
excise taxes to transportation funding.
“In our rush to correct the problem as quickly as possible,
we must be careful in determining which funding mechanisms would
best serve the state’s long term goals,” said Rabon,
D-Hugo. “Nearly half of all revenue produced by motor vehicle
excise taxes goes into the General Revenue Fund each year, and diverting
that revenue to transportation compromises our ability to adequately
fund education, healthcare and municipal government. I’m confident
we can craft a responsible plan without taking funding away from
those essential government services.”
Rabon said the Legislature has shown a greater willingness to
provide funding for repairs and new construction in recent years,
but more work needs to be done. In 2000, the Legislature approved
a measure to allow ODOT to issue revenue bonds to pay for immediate
projects. That proposal has successfully funded 14 projects to connect
rural areas to urban areas with four-lane roads. Last year, the
Legislature approved $125 million in one-time funding for bridge
repairs. The ROADS (Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety)
fund, which provides for annual increases in transportation funding,
was established in 2006.
“These were commendable efforts and small steps in the right
direction, but we still have a long way to go,” Rabon said.
“In our eagerness to get there, we can’t rob Peter to
pay Paul. We don’t need a short term band-aid that doesn’t
make use of new money, but instead redirects funds from other integral
programs in a very tight budget year.”
Rabon noted that motor vehicle excise taxes contributed $259.2
million to the General Revenue Fund in 2007.
“This is not an amount to be taken lightly, and removing
it from the General Revenue Fund would trim a significant amount
of funding from the current budget,” Rabon said. “With
57 percent of the state’s budget dedicated to education, it’s
invariably our schools that would take the hit under this plan.
This is not a fiscally responsible approach.”
For more information contact:
Senator Rabon's Office: (405) 521-5614