Shortfall Threatens Oklahoma Road Projects

Wednesday, April 30th 2014, 6:26 pm
By: Karl Torp

There's a major shortfall in the federal fund that pays for highway and bridge projects in Oklahoma, according to a new report.

The Transportation for America report says by the end of the summer there will be not enough money in the Highway Trust Fund to begin new construction projects in the country. The fund has been used since 1956 to fund projects across the country.

"What we are seeing with the trust fund is the expenditures. The withdraws are outpacing the revenue from the gasoline tax," says ODOT Deputy Director Tim Gatz.

The report points out that the gas tax hasn't been raised since 1993 while road construction costs have soared and people are using more fuel efficient vehicles. ODOT has thousands of federally funded projects planned for the next eight years.

"Those are the projects that could be in jeopardy," says Gatz, who says the DOT would have to pick and choose which projects it can afford to pay for.

Even road improvements already underway could be impacted.

"Worst case scenario, we might have to stop some of those projects," adds Gatz, who thinks construction on other projects could be slowed.

This week, the U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx submitted a four year road transportation bill worth $302 billion. The plan addresses the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund.