A member of the Legislative Bond Oversight Commission has submitted a partial list of questions to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority today, asking it to substantiate some of the projections associated with Governor Keating's turnpike expansion program.
"It's my understanding the OTA board is going to discuss the Keating toll road program at its meeting this week and I think it's only appropriate that members have at least some of our questions in hand for that discussion," said Senator Larry Dickerson, a member of the Legislative Bond Oversight Commission.
At last month's meeting of the Executive and Legislative Bond Oversight Commissions, members decided to submit questions to the OTA, seeking additional information about Governor Keating's plan to raise toll rates and build two new urban turnpikes. Members had 30 days to submit questions and the OTA has 60 days to respond.
In a letter to Transportation Secretary Neal McCaleb today, Senator Dickerson said it was imperative that the OTA answer the questions.
"Whether or not Governor Keating is successful in his current effort to expand turnpikes, there will certainly be other proposals in the future. I feel that it would be difficult to give those proposals the objective treatment they deserve without first verifying the accuracy of past OTA estimates and projections, particularly those for the Keating program."
In his letter, Senator Dickerson indicated he may submit additional questions before the 30 day time limit elapses later this month. Other members of the bond commissions, including Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin, also indicated at last month's meeting that they may submit questions as well.
"There are just a lot of unanswered questions about the OTA projections that were used to draft the Keating toll road program. We have to verify the accuracy of those estimates before we consider any other turnpike proposals," said Senator Dickerson.
"We're not trying to make extra work for anyone, we just feel that if the people of Oklahoma are going to have any faith in the turnpike system they need to be sure all the numbers add up."
The OTA will hold its regular meeting this Thursday, August 15th. Members have indicated the Keating turnpike program will be discussed at that meeting.
Perspectives on the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority