Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry and state legislators reached a bipartisan agreement that will dedicate $170 million over five years to state road and bridge maintenance. The spending will be phased in over the next five years, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation stated.
“The announcement of $170 million over five years is great news because it will provide mush-needed repairs to our infrastructure,” said ODOT Director Gary Ridley. But he added, “Transportation solutions have to be long-term.” The work done by the governor and lawmakers to achieve the agreement “is a huge milestone toward helping to solve the state’s transportation problems,” Ridley said.
The state has identified $8 billion in transportation infrastructure needs, and plans to approach voter next Sept. 13 to seek an increase in the state gasoline tax from 17 to 22 cents per gallon, and in the diesel-fuel tax from 14 to 22 cents per gallon, with proceeds dedicated to road infrastructure improvements. The ballot question would not only speak to raising the funds, but would also amend the state Constitution to guarantee that funds raised for transportation purposes would only be spent for such purposes.