Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: July 23, 2009
Sen. Randy Brogdon
Brogdon Says It’s Time to Put the
Brakes on the Turnpike Authority;
Plans Legislation for Upcoming Session
State Senator Randy Brogdon, Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations
sub-committee, said it was time to look at reforming the Oklahoma
Turnpike Authority (OTA). After the OTA approved toll hikes of 16
percent, Brogdon called for restricting the ability of the OTA to
raise tolls--especially at a time when the economy and Oklahoma’s
citizens are already suffering.
“Hiking tolls when people are struggling to make ends meet
will only make things worse,” Brogdon said. “Oklahoma’s
citizens and businesses are facing economic uncertainty. This is
not the time to add to their financial burden through a decision
that was essentially taxation without representation. Increasing
tolls will cause a reduction in travel and commerce in our state
at a time when we should be encouraging both.”
“It is time to end OTA’s ability to increase taxes on
Oklahomans without the consent of the people or their elected representatives,”
Turnpike revenues in Oklahoma fell by $500,000 in 2008. Projected
revenues for 2009 suggest a further drop in revenue of $7 million.
However, Brogdon said the projected $20 million in additional revenue
over the next two years to be overly optimistic because it does
not take into account decreased traffic from individuals and businesses
choosing to save money by avoiding toll roads.
Brogdon believes the toll increase may have unintended consequences,
such as forcing truck traffic off toll
roads and onto two lane roads ill-equipped to carry the heavier
loads, resulting in increased maintenance costs for local communities
and the Department of Transportation.
“I want to stress that I’m not laying all the blame
at the members of the Turnpike Authority who voted for these hikes,”
Brogdon said, noting the members are asked to make decisions based
on what is in the best interest of Oklahoma’s turnpikes.
However, Brogdon added, “They should be making decisions based
on what is in the best interest for all Oklahomans in this downturn
economy. Economic decisions like this cannot be made in a vacuum.
What’s in the best interest of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority
is not necessarily in the best interest of Oklahoma. I will propose
legislation to end this flawed decisions making process.”
For more information contact:
Sen. Brogdon: 405-521-5566