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Federal Funding Cuts Could Delay Oklahoma Bridge Repairs, Crosstown Construction

Federal Funding Cuts Could Delay Oklahoma Bridge Repairs, Crosstown Construction

NEWS 6.com

Posted: Sep 08, 2009 11:34 AM Updated: Sep 09, 2009 2:29 PM
ODOT director Gary Ridley broke the news to ODOT commissioners Tuesday morning that the feds are taking back allocated money for repair projects across the state.

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ODOT director Gary Ridley broke the news to ODOT commissioners Tuesday morning that the feds are taking back allocated money for repair projects across the state.
The federal government is taking this money back because it's working to balance its budget. ODOT says it will move ahead as schedule with its existing projects.

Enlarge this picture

The federal government is taking this money back because it's working to balance its budget. ODOT says it will move ahead as schedule with its existing projects.

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Federal money used to fix highways and bridges could be cut, leaving the future of many repair projects across the state in doubt.

The money would have come from the federal highway trust used to help state improve their interstates and roadways. But, the feds are taking some of that money back.

About $8 billion nationwide is being rescinded by the federal government, which ironically comes at a time when most states are working to fix roads and bridges. Oklahoma alone stands to lose millions. ODOT director Gary Ridley broke the news to ODOT commissioners this morning.

"What it means to Oklahoma is about $135 million of less money; $40 million would almost be immediate," Ridley said.

The news came just moments after the commissioners voted in favor of $4 billion worth of construction projects.

"The department has completed the 8-year construction work plan for federal fiscal year 2010-2017," Ray Sanders with ODOT Project Management said.

Now those projects are already being funded through state funds and stimulus dollars. But the lack of federal highway trust funds puts other projects at risk.

Learn how safe the bridges and overpasses you use every day are.

"At anytime money is removed from money we anticipated to receive than that could delay anything," Ridley said.

Among the expected delays is a $22 million Crosstown Expressway project slated to begin next month.

Learn more about the construction in News9.com's Crumbling Crosstown section.

This news comes at a time Oklahoma was praised by Congress for fiscal responsibility over stimulus spending.

"One would think that they wouldn't want to recognize the good things that are going on with the stimulus projects with one hand and then remove other monies from us on the federal side," Ridley said.

Ridley says he has contacted Senator Inhofe and Representative Mary Fallin about the budget shortfall. Inhofe says he'll try to bring it up when Congress reconvenes this month.

Read ODOT's 8-Year Plan for a List of Projects Across the State 

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