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Split decision: States mulling lane division for trucks

Split decision: States mulling lane division for trucks

The Oklahoman Editorial

Published: July 26, 2009

Part of President Obama’s stimulus package is an $8 billion down payment on a high-speed rail system. This strikes us as being akin to a $5,000 gift certificate toward the purchase of a $60,000 automobile — nice only if you can afford the other $55,000.

Since Oklahoma is included in the high-speed rail corridor proposals, the carrot at the end of the stick is being taken seriously. But given that infrastructure costs alone on a line connecting Oklahoma City with Tulsa would be at least $2 billion, whatever fraction of the $8 billion this state would get is chump change.

We’ve learned of a better idea for supplemental transportation funding, one that would increase safety, restore interstate driving to a more pleasant experience and visit Oklahomans where they live — on the roads instead of the rails.

The idea is to create lanes for trucks that are separate from lanes for cars. Four states that lie along Interstate 70 are studying the concept for a roadway that’s expected to handle as many as 25,000 trucks a day by 2035.

Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio are serious about developing "Corridors of the Future,” the name of a proposal taken out for a spin two years ago by the pre-Obama U.S. Department of Transportation.

Imagine having separate truck lanes on the state’s busiest turnpikes, which are already functioning as high-speed corridors. Had no trucks been in car lanes on the Will Rogers Turnpike on June 26, the deadliest turnpike wreck in state history would not have occurred.

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