Oklahoma highway to remain toll free

| 3/15/2002

A House bill introduced last month would relieve the state's Transportation Authority from building a turnpike through eastern Oklahoma if it becomes law. Local officials have expressed concern a toll road could hamper their community's ability to grow.

HB2380, sponsored by Reps. Paul Roan (D-Tishomingo) and Sen. Frank Shurden (D-Henryetta), strikes language from a 2001 law authorizing the Transportation Authority to build the road along the path of U.S. 69.

Officials estimate transforming the four-lane highway stretching from south of Colbert near the Texas state line to Vinita into a turnpike would cost $450 million. Making a toll road parallel to U.S. 69 would nearly double the cost at $800 million.

The House voted 93-4 to approve the bill.