Its been nearly a year since people lost their lives in the I0 bridge collapse near Webbers Falls. Since that time, Senator Ben Robinson has wondered what the legislature could do to help prevent similar tragedies in the future.
Thats why I introduced Senate Bill 3. It is difficult because we are dealing with multiple jurisdictions, but I wanted to make sure we did everything in our power as state legislators to keep this from happening again, explained Senator Robinson, DMuskogee.
Senate Bill 3, signed into law on Thursday by the governor, mandates creation of the Oklahoma Barge Traffic Safety Advisory Task Force. The 3 member task force will be charged with advising the Department of Transportation on rules, policies or other procedural changes aimed at improving barge traffic safety.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the American Waterways Operators have released their own study and recommendations just this week. Our task force will help the state Transportation Department in examining what changes can be implemented in Oklahoma in order to adopt those recommendations as well as considering others that could prove critical to enhancing safety, said Robinson.
Senator Robinson said the members of the task force would be appointed by the Governor and legislative leaders. Their first meeting will be held by September , 2003. The task force has one year to complete its work.
There are some things we will be able to do at the state level while others may have to come from the federal level. But the families who lost loved ones and those individuals who came close to losing their lives deserve our assurance that we will do everything possible to make our bridges and waterways safer, said Robinson.