Funding For Oklahoma Roads Could Get Cut

Wednesday, July 16th 2014, 6:40 pm
By: News 9

Millions of dollars for our roads and highways could soon be cut.

The Federal Highway Trust Fund is nearing an end unless congress acts. The House has passed a short term extension, but nothing has been finalized. This is an eight-year plan for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Now, it's in jeopardy, and that has some small businesses on alert.

"We hope the roads are maintained, and if they're not it trickles down to everybody," said Nathan Howell, with Affiliated Movers of OKC Inc.

Howell loves the company's roots but knows that if its home state's roads can't be maintained or updated, it could be costly to the company.

"[I have been in] Oklahoma since the beginning. Always been here, always will," said Howell. "We move some very delicate things. It affects the wear and tear on our trucks. It affects the time if we have to re-route our drivers."

Howell's concerns are in the same gear as the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), which relies on an annual $500 million from the Highway Trust Fund.

"The worst part of this is the uncertainty. It's not knowing from day to day, letting a contractor working on a project and having to stop payments," said Terri Angier with ODOT.

And without those federal dollars, 37 projects in August alone will take a direct hit, and the entire eight year plan is basically trash. For example, the next construction phases at I-235 and I-44.

"It would be irresponsible if we don't know," said Angier.

Howell does know a fix from D.C. is vital.

"We are not a big business. We don't have the newest and biggest trucks so it's important to have good roads," said Howell.

"We need to start getting with the times and come up with a more permanent solution," said Angier.

The ongoing project at I-40 and Mustang Rd. would be put on hold if no decision is made by Congress,

Congress has until the end of the month, or when it breaks for recess, to make a decision on the future of the funds.