Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Highway Contracts to Rise 33.5% / Expected to Be $350 Million for Fiscal Year, Says Bellmon

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Highway Contracts to Rise 33.5% / Expected to Be $350 Million for Fiscal Year, Says Bellmon

Article excerpt

A total of $350 million in highway contracts is estimated to be let by the end of the fiscal year ending June 30 by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, a 33.5 percent increase for contracts let for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1987, according to transportation department estimates.

That estimate is $88 million, or 33.5 percent, above the $262 million in contracts let in the fiscal year ended June 30, 1987. In addition, that figure is up $38 million or 12.2 percent over the $312 million contracts let for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1986.

Gov. Henry Bellmon presented awards to the transportation commissioners at their regular monthly meeting Monday, commending them for the work they have done in implementing the increases.

"The commission has been able to do this work with no increase in its number of personnel," said Bellmon, adding that a number of department employees have taken advantage of the early retirement system program.

The amount of contracts, he said, let from the beginning of this fiscal year to the present is $292 million and is expected to reach $350 million by the end of the fiscal year June 30.

Transportation officials attribute the increase in the amount of highway contracts awarded to the six percent increase in the state gasoline tax which the Oklahoma Legislature approved in the 1987 session.

By earmarking the tax for highway construction and improvement, the transportation department has a more stable source of revenue, compared to the appropriation procedure through the Legislature. The earmarking in turn frees up federal highway money for the state.

According to the department's public information division, the state is experiencing about a $5 million net increase in available federal highway funding this fiscal year.

In other action, the transportation commission approved final May bid openings for a total of $7.4 million in construction contracts for Oklahoma County and a total of $2.4 million for Cleveland County.

In Oklahoma County a project to joint seal, side and install underdrainage for a 7.75 mile section of Int. Hwy. 40 has been estimated at $6.4 million.

The work would be done from the junction of Int. Hwy. 40 and Int. Hwy. 240 on the east side of Midwest City east to the Pottawatomie County line. The project was approved by the commission last December.

Also in Oklahoma County is an estimated $1 million erosion control project on Int. Hwy. 35, from the junction on the northeast side of Oklahoma City to State Hwy. 66, a length of 9. …

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