Fallin Asks For $1.3B For Oklahoma Infrastructure
OKLAHOMA CITY - The request is more than a billion dollars. Governor Mary Fallin asking the federal government for help improving some of the state's most critical infrastructure, according to a request list from the National Governor’s Association.
The money would go to seven "shovel-ready" projects. The projects include just over $1 billion to fix four sections of the state's most decrepit or busiest highways like the I-44/I-235 exchange in Oklahoma City, which would receive $150 million. It also includes $300 million for sections of I-44 west of the Arkansas River, some of the oldest piece of original Highway in the state.
Here’s the full break down:
- $300 million for construction along I-40 and I-35 to Shawnee, creating a freight corridor near Tinker Air Force Base.
- $300 million to expand US-75 near Tulsa
- $300 million for I-44 west of the Arkansas River.
- $150 million for the I-235/I-44 interchange.
- $135 million to upgrade and repair the lock-and-dam infrastructure of the McCellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System
- $43 million for a new control tower at Tulsa International Airport
- $50 million in upgrades to state railways and safety.
“It produces a tremendous amount of wear and tear on trucks and for drivers in the state.” Jennifer Fogg said.
Fogg is the president of TBS Factoring Services in Oklahoma City, a finance and logistics company for more than 4000 truckers nationwide. She said the bad roads hurt bottom lines and make roadways less safe.
“You have additional costs to repairs, you have tire wear, so you're replacing tires on a faster basis. You have additional fuel costs that are realized when there are deficient roads,” Fogg said.
The cost of those bad roads adds up on the average driver too to the tune of $2,200 extra dollars in driving costs each year. In all, Oklahomans spent $4.9 billion in added vehicle operation costs, according to the transportation research nonprofit TRIP.
The group is funded by “insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction, labor unions, and organizations concerned with an efficient and safe surface transportation network that promotes economic development and quality of life,” according to TRIP’s website.
But the Governor's request may not be enough. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, Oklahoma needs billions in repairs to drinking and waste water systems. The state's electrical grid, oil hubs, like the one in Cushing, and state schools all need massive overhauls or upgrades and all are missing from the Governor's request.
The seven requests are in a list of 429 from 49 states and territories. They were apart of President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan. During the campaign, candidate Trump advocated for a $1 trillion push to repair America’s interior. They were also a key part of the Fallin’s state of the state last week.
The latest ASCE report card was released in 2013. That year, Oklahoma received a C-. The new report cards are expected to be released Mar. 9.