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FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER CHRIS BENGE PRESENTED GUARDIAN AWARD FROM TRANSPORTATION COALITION (PRESS RELEASE)

FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER CHRIS BENGE PRESENTED GUARDIAN AWARD FROM TRANSPORTATION COALITION (PRESS RELEASE)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, October 18, 2018 – Transportation Revenues Used Strictly For Transportation (TRUST), an advocacy group dedicated to funding and restoring Oklahoma’s infrastructure, presented its seventh Guardian of Transportation award to former Speaker of the House and former Secretary of State Chris Benge today during its annual Transportation Innovation Forum held at the Oklahoma History Center.  Benge (R-Tulsa) was elected to House District 68 in 1998 and served as Speaker from 2008-2011. He served as Secretary of State from 2013-2016 and currently serves as chief-of-staff to Governor Mary Fallin.  TRUST president Neal McCaleb, former secretary of transportation and director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, said the award is presented to an individual that exemplifies excellence in all areas of the transportation industry.

"There are many deserving individuals of this award who have contributed to the tremendous progress made to improve Oklahoma’s transportation infrastructure, and Speaker Benge is certainly one of them,” McCaleb said. “During his time in the legislature and as Speaker, he was a champion in advocating for transportation to be returned as a core priority of state government, and he played a key role in the advancement of Oklahoma’s transportation infrastructure on many levels. His dedication to that cause makes him a natural selection for this award, and it is an honor for TRUST to present our Guardian of Transportation award to him.”

Benge commented, “It is an honor to receive the Guardian of Transportation award from TRUST.  Over the past 12 years, Oklahoma has made tremendous progress in addressing its structurally deficient bridges and highways with capital projects evident across Oklahoma on both the state and county highway systems.  I am proud to have played a role in the advancement of this core state government mission.  It has been an incredible story to see our state move away from a transportation system held together by duct tape and baling wire, to one that brings a modern delivery of infrastructure that will allow our citizens to thrive in a 21st century economy. I am very appreciative of TRUST for this honor.”

Benge joins former Secretary of Transportation, ODOT and OTA director Gary Ridley, former Governor George Nigh, Workers’ Compensation Commission Chairman and former state Rep. Mark Liotta, TRUST co-founder and former Oklahoma Transportation Commission Chairman Tom Love, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe and Corporation Commissioner and former Speaker of the House Todd Hiett as a recipient of the annual award.

A crowd of nearly 175 TRUST members, transportation officials and advocates, state legislators and elected officials attended the event which featured ‘fireside transportation chats’ with gubernatorial nominees Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson.  

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TRUST is an advocacy group dedicated to restoring Oklahoma’s transportation infrastructure.  We are committed to creating a culture within Oklahoma government that values and adequately funds transportation as a core priority. Since 2005 TRUST has grown into a diverse coalition of statewide organizations representing banking, energy, agri-business, construction, chambers of commerce, public safety, transportation and concerned citizens. To learn more please visit restoreTRUST.org.

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