Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Istook Secures Additional Funds for I-40 Crosstown Realignment

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Istook Secures Additional Funds for I-40 Crosstown Realignment

Article excerpt

Realignment of Interstate 40 through downtown Oklahoma City is one step closer to happening, although final approval has not been received.

As a project of national significance, the realignment is expected to receive $5.3 million from the fiscal 2002 Transportation Appropriations Bill, now headed to conference committee.

That announcement was made Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook, R- Okla.

"The Crosstown Expressway carries traffic from across the country," Istook said. "It is a vital artery for Oklahoma as well as the entire federal highway system. This additional funding will help avoid any delays in the construction process."

When the money is approved, it will bring to $108.3 million in federal funds for the project. Three years ago, Oklahoma received $103 million to help pay for moving the Crosstown Expressway from the southern edge of downtown to the railroad corridor about seven blocks to the south.

Although most initial work by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has been completed and the Federal Highway Administration has received the final environmental impact statement, approval still is about five months away.

"We are hoping it will be sooner than that," said Terri Angier, the transportation department's public affairs director.

While the $108.3 million in federal money seems enormous, it's less than half what is needed to complete the project.

With preliminary plans completed, it's estimated the realignment from Byers Street to Agnew Avenue will cost more than $250 million.

"If that's the cost, it will require $50 million in state money, if we receive the usual 90-20 match," Angier said. "Since this is an Oklahoma City project and not a statewide project, we don't have the money to pay for it.

"So we are going to rely on getting 100 percent federal funding because this is a project of national significance. Our congressional delegation managed to convince them (Congress) of that. They included this $5.3 million in the transportation appropriations bill on their own initiative.

"Now we will work with them to include even more money for the I- 40 realignment in the transportation authorization bill that must be approved in 2003. …

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