OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) announced a plan to fund the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Trooper Academy in 2018.

OTA officials along with representatives from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and House Speaker Charles McCall were on hand for the announcement.

“This is an historic agreement between the two and a great example of state government working together, coming together in a time of need” said McCall.

As part of the agreement, the OTA plans to give $5 million to DPS to fund the trooper academy. The academy, expected to consist of about 30 new OHP troopers, starts in January 2018. OTA has offered assistance with previous academies.

“Anybody that is hearing or seeing this knows it’s an extremely difficult budget year. But, it’s always been a priority for us to ensure that we have a safe number of troopers on the roads and to make sure that public safety is always one of the core services we take seriously,” said Appropriations Chair, Rep. Leslie Osborn.

An OTA official says they believe the plan is an important investment to keep a strong OHP force on the state’s turnpikes.