Oklahoma bill would dedicate funds to roads and bridges

| 3/6/2006

An Oklahoma House panel has approved a bill intended to help bring the state’s roads and bridges up to speed.

The Oklahoma House Transportation Committee voted unanimously Feb. 27 to advance a bill that would dedicate money collected for vehicle tags and taxes to construction and maintenance of the state’s roads and bridges.

The state’s Department of Transportation says more than 3,000 miles of Oklahoma’s more than 12,000 miles of highway need to be repaired or replaced. In addition, about 1,160 of the state’s more than 6,700 bridges are either deficient or obsolete.

Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Hickman, R-Dacoma, the bill would reroute $221 million that is funneled into the state’s General Fund to help fix roads and bridges throughout the state.

“Many Oklahomans are under the impression that the money collected for their vehicle tag is already going toward fixing roads, but only 0.31 percent of the money collected is currently put toward road construction and repair,” Hickman said in a written statement. “Money generated from car tags should go to fix the very roads those vehicles will be traveling – and this bill does just that.”

Hickman’s bill also would send the portion of the fuel tax collections on gasoline and diesel now sent to the General Fund to roads. That would amount to an additional $7 million for OKDOT.

The bill – HB1863 – now heads to the full House for further consideration.