The state could soon be getting a boost in funds dedicated to the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, following the Senate approval of House Bill 2551 on Wednesday.
The measure would remove language requiring the State Board of Equalization to certify three percent growth in the General Revenue Fund before appropriating $50 million to the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) Fund.
Sen. Kenneth Corn, Senate author of the bill, said approval of the measure would complete a funding commitment to the Department of Transportation as part of an eight-year plan to improve the state’s roads and bridges.
“Making a firm commitment to provide increased funding for road and bridge improvements is a step in the right direction for our state,” said Corn, D-Poteau. “For Oklahoma to become a destination for business and industry, we must make significant improvements to our transportation infrastructure. It’s time for the Legislature to get serious about rebuilding our roads.”
When the ROADS Fund was established in 2005, the legislation provided for annual funding increases of $50 million as long as state revenues grew by a rate of three percent each year. Removing the trigger would allow the Legislature to provide increases in funding independent of growth projections.
Corn said that each year since the fund was established, the three percent growth trigger has prevented annual funding increases.
“Today’s unanimous passage is a signal that the Senate understands our roads and bridges must be among our top priorities,” Corn said. “We have a long way to go but this is a another step in the right direction.”