Following a Minnesota bridge collapse that has forced states to reevaluate the safety of their roads and bridges, Sen. Kenneth Corn is calling upon lawmakers to change the state’s transportation funding formula and make a meaningful investment to improve transportation infrastructure.
“The current formula is not capable of providing enough funding for new construction and maintenance,” said Corn, D-Poteau. “Oklahoma leads the nation in structurally deficient bridges, and it’s time for the Legislature to step forward with a plan to invest in Oklahoma’s transportation infrastructure. It’s our responsibility to ensure Oklahoma roads and bridges are safe, and we need to take definitive action to fix this problem.”
In 2005, the Legislature approved a measure that would direct $50 million annually to the maintenance and repair of state highways and bridges, provided that the growth of the General Revenue Fund is three percent or better. Corn said the Fund is currently not reaching three percent growth, and likely won’t produce significant revenue for road and bridge improvements.
“We need to stop tinkering with the formula and reach an agreement on a straight-forward plan to adequately fund transportation,” Corn said. “We know that improving our roads will pay dividends in growing the economy, but what’s more important is that Oklahomans know their roads and bridges are safe and reliable. Statistics showing our bridges to be the worst in nation should be a wakeup call for state leaders to address this problem as soon as possible.”