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Governor Fallin Signs HB2249 Into Law

 

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eCap- Fallin signs legislation to 'transform' transportation infrastructure

Author: Erin Boeckman
Date: 06/04/2012


(eCap) Gov. Mary Fallin signed two bills Monday that she said would transform the state's transportation infrastructure.

HB 2248 and HB 2249 will transform Oklahoma's transportation infrastructure from one that is inefficient to one that is much better, Fallin said during a signing ceremony at the Capitol.

Fallin was joined by Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, the House author of the two bills. He said that transportation funding had been stagnant for many years until 2004. Monday's bill signing was the culmination of the efforts of great men and women since that time. HB 2248 and HB 2249 show that transportation funding is a priority, he said.

HB 2248, by Shannon and Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, increases from $41.7 million to $59.7 million the amount to be allocated to the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety Fund for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013, and each fiscal year thereafter. It also increases from $435 million to $575 million the cap on the fund.

The $18 million in additional dollars will allow the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to stay on track to fix the state's deficient bridges, Fallin said.

HB 2249, also by Shannon and Marlatt, modifies apportionment of fees, taxes and penalties collected under the Oklahoma Vehicle License and Registration Act to the General Revenue Fund, directing 29.34 percent to be apportioned for the years beginning Jan. 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2013; 26.84 percent to be apportioned for the year beginning July 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2013; 24.84 percent to be apportioned for the year beginning July 1, 2014, and all subsequent years. The bill directs that the 15 percent allocation to the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges Fund end Dec. 31, 2012. It directs 15.5 percent of the revenue be credited to the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges Fund for the year beginning Jan. 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2013; 18 percent of the revenue be credited to the same fund for the year beginning July 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2014; and 20 percent of the revenue be credited to the fund beginning July 1, 2014, and all subsequent years.

Under the bill, the increases in revenue allocated to the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges Fund total $1.7 million in FY2013; $21 million in FY2014; and $31 million in FY2015, according to the fiscal analysis prepared by House staff. In addition to funding county bridge repairs, the funds will also support the innovative re-use of steel beams from the Interstate 40 Crosstown on county bridge projects, Fallin said. More than 1,800 steel beams are expected to be salvaged for use on the county system, she said.

The two bills support the governor's Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan, which she announced in October, to address the 706 bridges on the state system that are deemed "structurally deficient," meaning structural members of the bridge are showing signs of deterioration and the bridge needs to be significantly rehabilitated or replaced. With the resources provided under HB 2248 and HB 2249, the number of deficient bridges will be reduced from 706 to 0 by 2019, Fallin said.

The responsibility of putting the resources to action now lies with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said ODOT Director and Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley.

"This is a big day for transportation in Oklahoma, maybe the biggest day that I've seen," Ridley said.

The third part of Fallin's plan calls for the widening of the Kilpatrick and Creek turnpikes. Contracts for these efforts have already been issued, Fallin said.