State Transportation Plan to Cost $2.68 Billion
Danker, Jessica, THE JOURNAL RECORD
The Oklahoma Statewide Intermodal Transportation Plan, which projects future improvement projects through 2020, has estimated costs of $2.68 billion, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Estimated state funding for the 25-year plan totals $1.9 billion. The department said federal funding, which is not included in the revenue projections, is expected to more than offset the difference.
The plan is a result of a federal law passed in December 1991 requiring states to develop a transportation plan covering a minimum of 20 years. Oklahoma's plan details transportation improvements involving the state through 2020.
"What's different about this plan is that we had to include all modes of transportation," said David Streb, statewide plan coordinator for the Oklahoma Transportation Department.
The department included a state system of highways, rural transit, freight and passenger rail, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, commercial trucking, and access to air and water ports.
"Oklahoma is definitely a highway state, and it will probably stay that way," he said.
During the organization of the plan, the department set up four funding alternatives and requested public opinion on them. After consideration, a funding alternative proposing an annual 2 percent increase in state funds from 1995 to 2020 was preferred. The funding focuses on three primary modes of transportation _ highways and bridges, rural transit and freight rail, according to the agency.
If the department receives more than the projected 2 percent increase in funding from the state, the money will be spent on other modes of transportation besides the highway system, Streb said.
The transportation plan was approved May 1 by an eight-member transportation commission appointed by the governor. The members represent geographic regions of the state.
Oklahoma has "gone a step further (than other states) in identifying transportation corridors and funding strategies," Streb said.
"We have identified transportation improvement corridors in the state highway system. These are highways we have projected to need increased capacity in the future," Streb said.
According to the plan, there are 16 transportation improvement corridors across the state.
The plan has identified one highway for improvement based on economic development considerations. State Hwy. 6 from Interstate 40 near Elk City to U.S. Hwy. 62 in Altus in southwestern Oklahoma has been designated an economic development corridor.
These transportation corridors and also those that will be part of the national highway system are top priority, Streb said.
The plan also recognizes the need for improvements along important north-south routes such as Interstate 35 and other secondary routes. …