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Oklahoma Transportation Officials and Business Leaders Call on Congress

Oklahoma Transportation Officials and Business Leaders Call on Congress

Stimulus-Funded Tulsa Inner Dispersal Loop Project Highlights Benefits of Transportation Investment

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TULSA, Okla. - With Tulsa's Inner Dispersal Loop (IDL) as a backdrop, Oklahoma transportation officials and local business leaders joined representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce led Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) Coalition today to celebrate the start of a critical rebuilding project.  Expedited by funding from the economic stimulus package signed by President Obama in February, the $75 million IDL project is injecting a vital boost to the local economy and resolving a significant transportation challenge. 

Citing the immediate and enduring impacts of the project, the parties also used the opportunity to call on Congress and the Obama Administration to address ongoing transportation planning and investment around the nation.  

"Transportation funding in the stimulus package was a great first step, but the job isn't finished yet," said Janet Kavinoky, director of transportation infrastructure in the Congressional and Public Affairs Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the ATM Coalition. "Now is the time for Congress to address long-term transportation planning and investment needs for our roads, bridges and public transit.  The bottom line: More revenue is needed to ensure other critical mobility projects that support economic activity and population growth, like the IDL, are built around this great nation."

With the nation's existing surface transportation legislation expiring in September, the ATM is leading the effort to urge Congress to take this opportunity to address long-term transportation planning and investment needs for roads, bridges and public transit. Americans traveling daily by car, bus or train see firsthand that the nation's roads, bridges and public transit systems are failing to keep pace with the needs of a growing population.

"Investments in transportation and infrastructure will be returned to this region through new businesses, individuals and organizations we are able to retain and attract," said David Page, Tulsa Metro Chamber chairman and market president of JP Morgan Chase & Co.

According to the Tulsa Chamber's economist Bob Ball, rehabilitation of the IDL will create a total of nearly 600 direct and indirect jobs as a result of one year of construction. Furthermore, the project will help boost the local economy with an expected economic impact of nearly $137 million over the course of construction.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) currently has close to $12 billion in backlogged highway construction projects.  Transportation infrastructure replacement in Oklahoma is expected to cost $35 billion, almost seven times the annual state budget.

"The IDL is a vital transportation link for downtown Tulsa, and for thousands of people travelling through Tulsa each day," Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley said. "We ask for everyone's patience during this project. There will certainly be some inconveniences, but this work will be well worth it for many, many decades to come.

The four-mile IDL, which encircles downtown Tulsa, is a vital link to Tulsa's central business district, averaging more than 62,000 vehicles each day.  The $75 million, 580-day project will completely reconstruct and re-deck more than 40 bridges on the west and north legs of the IDL. Traffic sign improvements and safety upgrades will also be made.

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