An Oklahoma state lawmaker has filed legislation to
fund much needed road and bridge work in the state.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Newport, R-Ponca City,
would redirect vehicle tag money from the state’s general fund and tag it for
road repairs and maintenance.
He said the state motor vehicle tax raises about $600
million a year, with 55 percent of it earmarked for education and other
spending. Newport said that would not change. The general revenue fund has been
getting the remaining 45 percent.
“I want to direct that money back to the Department of
Transportation,” he said in a written statement.
Under Newport’s proposal – HB1218 – $60 million of the
tag fees would be shifted to the Department of Transportation the first year,
$120 million the second year, and it would cap at $180 million.
“The primary goal of this legislation is to adequately
finance the continued maintenance and development of the roads and bridges in
this state,” Newport said. “If we’re not consistently improving our
infrastructure, we are allowing it to decline. You don’t always notice it, but
Newport offered a similar bill last year but it never
made it out of committee. He hopes the new Republican leadership in the
Oklahoma Legislature will be more willing to listen this time around.
“This is very doable,” he said. “It’s just a matter of the House and Senate
realigning the funds and doing what’s right.”