OPINION: Investing in Okla infrastructure

The Claremore Daily Progress

By Marty Quinn

August 22, 2020

After dedicating the past 15 years to investing in our state’s bridges and transportation infrastructures, we’ve finally been ranked in the top 10—coming in at ninth—across the nation for bridge conditions.

In 2004, Oklahoma was ranked 49th in the nation for bridge quality and conditions with nearly 1,200 bridges that were considered structurally deficient. Today, there’s only 86 of our state’s bridges with this designation, and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has plans to repair or replace these remaining bridges. Our state’s transportation infrastructure is our number one asset with a value of $69 billion, so it’s incredibly important that we protect this investment by continuing to fund transportation projects, which will have a positive impact on our economy for years to come.

 It’s hard to look around and not notice the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our economy over the last six months. Just a few short months after our first positive coronavirus case was confirmed in Oklahoma, the legislature had to make a series of difficult decisions regarding the state’s budget. There was no doubt we were looking at a revenue shortfall for the 2020 fiscal year, but it was anyone’s guess at what the final figure would be and how much would need to be cut from the budget. The final revenue shortfall projection was $416.9 million, and that’s what we set the budget on. However, we did receive a bit of good news this month when the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) announced the shortfall was actually $366.6 million, about $50 million less than we expected. OMES also shared that the general revenue for the month of July was 9.5 percent higher than expected.

View the full article: ClaremoreProgress.com

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