For Immediate Release: May 22, 2008
State Leaders Announce Agreement on Bond Package
Gov. Brad Henry and legislative leaders have reached an agreement
on a $475 million bond package.
The agreement includes money for roads, higher education endowed
chairs, a low-water dam project on the Arkansas River in Tulsa,
flood control dams in rural Oklahoma, and the Native American Cultural
Center in Oklahoma City.
“I want to thank Republican and Democratic legislative leaders
for their hard work in drafting this bipartisan package,”
said Gov. Henry. “In a difficult budget year, this was the
only way to address the state’s most pressing capital needs
and keep the promise we made on endowed chairs. By investing now
in roads and bridges, flood control dams and other important projects,
we will pay a much lower price tag than if we had waited several
years when costs will undoubtedly be higher. This approach will
help us meet critical needs and save the state money in the long
“Securing our roads and bridges for all Oklahoma families
is a critical public safety issue for our state,” said House
Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa. “This plan secures the eight
year plan and ensures that our roads will be safe for generations
to come. Had we deferred these critical needs it would have only
cost the state more in the future.”
“This bipartisan agreement makes a significant investment
in Oklahoma’s infrastructure, such as roads and conservation
dams. The taxpayers have demanded additional action to fix our state’s
dilapidated roads and bridges, and this agreement provides a big
shot in the arm to transportation funding,” stated Senate
Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “We
are reducing the backlog in state matching funds for endowed chairs,
and funding three projects that are important to rural Oklahoma,
Tulsa, and Oklahoma City. Taxpayers can be proud that the Legislature
is not allowing this bond package to get loaded up with pork projects.”
"We knew when we reached a deal on the budget earlier this
session we still had work to do and critical needs to meet,"
President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater, said. "This
bond package is a reflection of that work and I believe the important
investment to fix our roads and bridges, especially the portion
that will be invested in county roads and bridges is a huge step
in the right direction. I am also extremely pleased the bond package
includes an important investment in higher education and necessary
funding to complete the Native American Cultural Center in Oklahoma
DETAILS OF THE $475 million bond package include:
ROADS: $300 Million in bonds, trigger removed
- Bonds for roads total $300 million.
- $275 million goes to ODOT’s eight-year maintenance plan
for state highways. This funding will be distributed in two separate
- $25 million is dedicated to a revolving fund for county roads.
- The debt service on the road bonds will be paid for with a portion
of the annual growth in motor vehicle fees. The average annual growth
in motor vehicle fees is over 3 percent.
- The agreement also removes the 3 percent growth trigger on the
guaranteed money to the department, and raises the cap to a maximum
deposit each year at $30 million. Once fully implemented, the plan
will invest $300 million a year in Oklahoma’s roads and bridges.
- Front-loading of funds made possible by the issuance of bonds
will more than offset their cost because of the anticipated savings
in roads construction material costs that have increased by an average
of 12 percent annually over the past three years.
- Under the transportation agreement, between FY-08 and FY-16 the
ROADS Fund will receive a total of $2.3 billion in appropriations,
rather than the approximately $2.1 billion under the historic HB
1176. More significantly, beginning in FY-17 the fund will receive
an additional $100 million annually, or $1 billion every ten years.
ENDOWED CHAIRS: $100 Million in bonds + reforms
- A total of $100 million in state matching funds for the endowed
chairs program at Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities.
- $6 million goes to endowed chairs at regional universities and
- The remaining $94 million is split evenly between Oklahoma State
University and the University of Oklahoma.
- Beginning July 1, 2008, a temporary moratorium will be placed
on state matches to the endowed chairs program until the state catches
up on its remaining backlog of commitments.
- Reforms to the endowed chairs program include changes to the
state match and an annual cap on total state matching funds: Going
forward, the state will match 100% of the first $250,000 of a private
donation and 25% of any amount above $250,000. The total annual
commitment for state matching funds will be capped at $5 million.
OTHER PROJECTS: $75 million
- $25 million for the Oklahoma Conservation Commission to repair
and replace flood control dams in rural Oklahoma.
- $25 million for the construction of a low-water dam project on
the Arkansas River in Tulsa.
- $25 million for the construction of the Native American Cultural
Center in Oklahoma City.
For more information
Sen. Coffee's Office: (405) 521-5636
Sen. Morgan's Office: (405) 521-5572