Federal Funding Cuts Put the Brakes on Oklahoma Road Projects
By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The future of some metro highway construction projects is in jeopardy after the state transportation department was forced to delay projects due to federal funding cuts.
The projects on hold were to go to bid in November, but state transportation officials announced Monday, because of the federal funding cut, it could be early next year before contracts are awarded.
"About $135 million will be taken out of various spending categories that are set up on federal government," ODOT Director Gary Ridley said.
The state's secretary of transportation explained to the transportation commission the scope of the problem. Congress is taking back some of the money from the federal highway trust fund.
"The highway trust fund is gradually going broke," Ridley said.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials are not sure when the money will come back.
"Now we're living day to day, week to week on our projects," Ridley said.
ODOT is delaying more than a dozen road and bridge repair projects worth about $45 million.
"That doesn't really mean much in the big picture of things," Terri Angier with ODOT said.
Meaning, whenever there is a federal funding shortage, it puts all state highway and bridge projects at risk, such as the much anticipated Crosstown Expressway.
"It may domino affect into other projects," Angier said.
But in the meantime, ODOT officials wait for word from Congress on when they can move forward and how much money they will have.
"That certainly, really creates pause for us," Ridley said.