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Statement From Senator Larry Dickerson, Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation And General Government

Senator Dickerson Comments on House Roads Plan:

"I'm glad the House has joined the debate and expressed support for additional road construction in Oklahoma. I haven't had time to review the details of the House program yet, but I think the obvious first reaction is that it doesn't build as many miles of highway as the Senate plan. Our $750 million program is just more extensive.

I'm also a little concerned about the funding sources in the House program. Whenever you start talking about redirecting motor vehicle fee revenues, you're talking about taking money from education and other vital state services that currently receive the funding. The annual withdrawals from the rainy day fund could also be problematic. I'd hate to fritter away the state's nest egg if growth revenue is available to fund our road efforts.

I would like to clear up any confusion House leaders may have about the Senate program. Contrary to their press release, the Senate plan is not tied to turnpike tolls. Furthermore, the Senate effort is designed to use Oklahoma contractors.

I'm pleased that we do agree on at least one thing. Oklahoma has about a $4.6 billion backlog of road projects that must be addressed. The question is whether to address it with the $750 million Senate program or the $352 million House plan."