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TRUST announces 2016 Legislative Goals (PRESS RELEASE)

TRUST announces 2016 Legislative Goals (PRESS RELEASE)

Eight-year highway and bridge construction plan top priority

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, February 1, 2016 – Transportation Revenues Used Strictly For Transportation (TRUST), an advocacy group dedicated to funding and restoring Oklahoma’s transportation infrastructure, announced its 2016 legislative agenda today with protection of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) eight-year highway and bridge construction plan once again its top priority.

While another sizeable deficit appears likely, the final FY-2017 budget will not be finalized by the legislature until the final days of the legislative session. Despite the deficit, TRUST leaders emphasized the importance of continuing to invest in Oklahoma’s highways and bridges.

“Since 2006, the legislature has steadily invested in Oklahoma’s transportation infrastructure, most notably with regards to surface transportation, and taxpayers are enjoying the benefits,” said TRUST president Neal McCaleb, former state transportation secretary and director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. TRUST members have been a proactive voice at the state Capitol, and have worked closely with the legislature and Governor Fallin to make genuine progress in bridge and highway construction and renovation. The legislature and governor deserve accolades for their vision and support.”

TRUST co-chairman and former Governor Frank Keating said, “Having a first-rate transportation infrastructure system drives the economy, and Oklahoma has seen the benefit of its multi-year transportation investment. On the flip side, the volume of projects still needed to ensure a modern and safe transportation network is large. Despite the budget challenges, I believe the legislative leadership and Governor Fallin will continue to recognize the vital importance in supporting transportation as a funding priority again this year.”

“Transportation investment is never an overnight process, and there are often bumps in the road as we have seen the past couple of years with regards to the state budget,” said Kell Kelly, TRUST co-chairman. “In order for Oklahoma’s transportation system to continue to evolve state leaders must allocate transportation-derived revenues, such as motor fuel taxes and motor vehicle fees, strictly for transportation purposes. From addressing state and county highway and bridge needs to construction of new ports of entries to protect our infrastructure from overweight freight to development of our turnpike system, Oklahoma is moving in the right direction, however we cannot lose sight of the future. Economic development competition from neighboring states is intense and always present, and Oklahoma’s transportation network simply must keep pace. I am confident Governor Fallin and the legislature will continue their rigorous support of the current infrastructure plans which are working statewide.”

The TRUST agenda also includes support of bond financing to complete and maintain critical transportation projects, completion of the statutory allocation to the ROADS fund, restoring all motor fuel taxes and motor vehicle fees to transportation programs, completion of Oklahoma’s new ports-of-entry (weigh stations), formulating an innovative, equitable and alternative transportation funding plan, long-term funding of the federal Highway Trust Fund and support of the Indian Reservation Roads Program.

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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 www.restoreTRUST.org
Contact: John Cox, TRUST communications director, 405.255.8117, jdcox@cox.net



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