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Point of View: Foresight for the road ahead (OPINION)

Point of View: Foresight for the road ahead (OPINION)

Oklahoman.com
By Bobby Stem
Updated: Sun, April 12, 2020 8:24 AM

We are all in this together.

Last legislative session, Gov. Kevin Stitt was criticized for saving $200 million instead of giving it back to agencies that had been cut during the previous economic downturns.

As road builders, the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors (AOGC) partners with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to build our state's infrastructure. Put simply, when ODOT gets cut in funding, your roads and bridges don't get fixed. During the past decade, we have seen a number of cuts to dollars used to build, maintain and repair our roads during those economic downturns. Because of the lack of funding, projects were delayed.

The Legislature worked very hard to balance very tough budgets and keep road repair moving in this state. When the governor chose to save $200 million instead of injecting those dollars into previously cut programs, we could have complained and claimed some of that money should have been used to catch up on delayed road construction projects. But we didn't. We supported Stitt while he prepared for tough times. We just didn't know that time would be coming sooner than later, and at such a cost.

The AOGC is glad Gov. Stitt had the foresight to prepare. And because of this, road and bridge builders in Oklahoma will also stand behind him if he feels an across-the-board cut needs to take place to better prepare for what's coming. I think we all know that this economic recovery is going to take years rather than months. And although we have a substantial rainy day fund, we all will need to tighten our belts as well.

Road builders don't usually advocate to build less, but we understand these are very trying times for all... FULL ARTICLE

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