The Edmond Sun

Local News

August 12, 2010

744 supporters bash ODOT plan

EDMOND — The Oklahoma Department of Transportation released its eight-year Construction Work Plan by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission this week.

An action necessary for the department to function in the long term, more than $4.3 billion in bridge and highway improvements are planned by the end of 2019, said Terri Angier, ODOT spokeswoman.

This eight-year plan is updated each year because a blueprint is needed for rights-of-way and designing projects.

“Our projects are very much long-term plans within environmental clearance of federal laws and federal funding, which is a key point of this,” Angier said. “We have to plan things way in advance.”

In response to ODOT’s eight-year Construction Work Plan, Supporters of State Question 744 issued a press release critical of the $4.3 billion in construction plans “while schools across Oklahoma face crippling budget cuts,” Supporters of State Question 744 stated.

“While opponents of SQ 744 say that Oklahoma cannot afford to invest in our children, they are able to find $4.3 billion for transportation projects,” said Michael Kolenc, Yes on 744 campaign manager. “Those same special interests that are fighting SQ 744 stand to gain financially from the $4.3 billion in transportation spending, and all while saying that 49th in the nation in school funding is good enough for Oklahoma. This type of hypocrisy makes it abundantly clear that Oklahoma’s kids and schools are not their top priority.”

SQ 744 will be on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

ODOT’s eight-year plan is for 1,750 critical projects. Highlights include more than 650 bridge replacements or major rehabilitations, which is more than three times the amount in ODOT’s first eight-year plan in 2003, Angier noted.

“As in the past, more bridges have been slated for replacement when compared with the previous year’s plan,” she said. “It also includes nearly $2 billion in major improvements and safety median barriers to high-volume facilities, as well as shoulders on rural two-lane highways.”

Angier said the press release issued by Yes on 744 indicates a lack of education from the group regarding ODOT.

“It’s actually more federal funds (60 percent) than state funds,” she said of the ODOT eight-year Construction Work Plan. The state will have contributed an estimated $1.72 billion by the end of 2019, according to ODOT.

Funding the eight-year Construction Work Plan is important to improve Oklahoma’s infrastructure, said state Rep. Randy McDaniel, R-Edmond.

 

Public investment for SQ 744 could prove costly

Supported by the Oklahoma Education Association, SQ 744 would repeal a section of the state Constitution. It would require the state to meet the regional per pupil average for spending in public schools.

Oklahoma’s region is comprised of New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Texas. Oklahoma legislators allocate $7,615 per student in comparison to the average regional per-pupil expenditure of $9,078, said Doug Folks, OEA spokesperson.

Nearly two-thirds of Oklahomans favor tying public education spending to the regional average, according to soonerpoll.com. State Rep. Jason Murphey said he expects most Oklahomans will vote against SQ 744 when they understand SQ 744 for what it is. A 2009 interim House study found approval of SQ 744 would require a 40 percent tax increase or a 20 percent hit across the board of every state agency’s budget.

“We estimated that would be an $850 million increase of spending requirement,” McDaniel said.

Walton Robinson, communications director for Yes On 744, said that he disputes the accuracy of the House study as it’s not verifiable.

“That PowerPoint documentation they produced was far from a common sense, well-thought-out piece of public policy research,” Robinson said.

However, Oklahoma Policy Institute Director of Policy David Blatt said the state will fall further behind in other areas of public investment if voters approve SQ 744 on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. This possible mandate would cause an estimated $1.7 billion increase in funding for common education over three years without a new revenue source, Blatt said.

Robinson said the Yes on 744 campaign considers Blatt’s $1.7 billion figure to be inflated for political purposes.

“We’re going to continue to criss-cross the state and reach out to voters and earn every single vote,” Robinson said.

McDaniel said schools have funding issues that concern him. Improving the roads and bridges of Oklahoma are also a priority, he added.

“Improving education is not simply a matter of greater funding. It is an issue of student achievement and accountability,” McDaniel said. “SQ 744 offers no promise of reforms, performance and accountability, which are concerns felt by many throughout the state.”

THE NEW eight-year Construction Plan is available on the ODOT Web site at www.okladot.state.ok.us, then click News and Media. To learn more about State Question 744, visit www.yeson744.com and www.stop744.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Boston 1 Arcadia man, 80, prepares for 111th marathon

    A year ago, Arcadia resident Tom Briggs was well into the Boston Marathon course when he heard runners nearby talking about an incident up ahead.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Anne Josette Hill Police seek teen last seen in Edmond-north OKC area

    The family of a missing teenage girl made a plea to the public Friday to help them find the Casady honors student.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-19 Calendar

    For information about Edmond senior programs, stop by and pick up a monthly calendar, check out the website at edmondseniorcenter.com or call 216-7600. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and reservations are needed a day in advance by 11 a.m. For lunch reservations, call 330-6293 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO plans Earth Day Fair

    The University of Central Oklahoma invites the community to celebrate sustainability with its Earth Day Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 22 in locations throughout Central’s campus.
    The fair kicks off at 10 a.m. around Broncho Lake with exhibitions from local businesses, state agencies and student organizations. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about its environmental mission and message.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO School of Music closes semester with concert series

    The University of Central Oklahoma School of Music will wrap up its instrumental performance season with three concerts featuring Central students April 29 through May 1 at Mitchell Hall Theater located on the UCO campus.    

    April 19, 2014

  • Fine Arts 1 Auction benefits Fine Arts Institute

    The Spring Sampler dinner and auction event April 12 at Oak Tree Country Club benefitted the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • Literally, books come to life for club

    When some of the women at Touchmark at Coffee Creek got together to form a book club, they didn’t know it would be so much fun and become such an important part of their lives.
    The group of about a dozen residents gets together monthly to not only discuss the assigned novel, memoir or classic, but also to immerse themselves in the setting and culture of the book. There is no limit to their creativity.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit edmondsun.com, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • jc_HarveySparks.jpg Pastor seeks congressional seat

    Working in the Congressional 1st District office of Congressman Jim Bridenstine was an eye opener for Harvey Sparks, he said. His analytical exposure to Congress has sparked his drive to run for the Congressional 5th District of Oklahoma, said Sparks, R-Oklahoma City.
    Sparks has been a pastor for the majority of his professional life. Sixteen months ago, he was asked by 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine to come work in his Washington, D.C., office. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters and a son, ages 10-3.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results