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TRUST Legislation for Bridges Becomes Law

TRUST Legislation for Bridges Becomes Law


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 22, 2009

Contact: Crystal Drwenski
405.410.7668
Cdrwenski@cox.net

NEWS RELEASE

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Transportation Revenues Used Strictly For Transportation (TRUST) Coalition today announced passage of a key legislative agenda item by the Oklahoma Legislature this week.

Senate Bill 832, by Senator Brian Bingman and Representative T.W. Shannon, allows partnerships between the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) and County Governments to repair functionally obsolete county bridges that go over turnpike systems.

Under this bill, the OTA could pledge turnpike revenues toward bridge repair and replacement to financially partner with counties to replace these bridges.  All projects must be initiated by the counties and approved by the county circuit engineering districts based on criteria such as traffic volume and bridge safety assessments.

Sen. Brian Bingman, Vice-chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee said, "This is simply creating another tool to help expedite replacement of narrow, dangerous county bridges that go over turnpikes.  This won't solve all of our problems, but we have to continue to use every option available to us to begin replacing bad bridges statewide."

Rep. T.W. Shannon, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said, "I am very pleased we passed this legislation.  Replacing dangerous bridges is a top priority of the legislature.  This, along with the historic investments we are making in roads and bridges this session, is going to have long-term safety and economic development benefits for the entire state."

 It is estimated there are 178 functionally obsolete country bridges in 20 different counties that go over turnpike systems statewide.

SB 832 also includes TRUST-supported language that would authorize a Task Force to study indexing of the ROADs fund, a concept that may prevent transportation funding erosion due to increased construction costs to build highways and bridges.  Currently this bill is awaiting signature from Gov. Henry before being signed into law.

For more information about TRUST's 2009 Legislative Agenda, please visit our Take Action page.

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