Funds sought to pay Oklahoma transportation debt

| 1/24/2003

An Oklahoma lawmaker has proposed legislation to snag up to $1.2 billion from the state’s teacher retirement system to pay off debt belonging to the Oklahoma Transportation Authority, The Oklahoman reported recently.

HB1377, filed by Rep. John Wright (R-Broken Arrow), would then allow the teachers to be reimbursed by using toll revenues from the state’s turnpike system.

The Transportation Authority is completely self-funded and reportedly is not being affected by budget cuts that are hampering other agencies.

David DuVall, executive director of the Oklahoma Education Association, told the newspaper he was left speechless by the proposal.

“I have not even heard of a scheme like this, and we oppose raiding the teachers’ retirement fund for any purpose,” DuVall said. “There may be some explanation behind it, but I can’t imagine a scenario where we would support it.”