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Oklahoma's Increased Road And Bridge Funding Comes With A Price

J. Stephen Conn
/
Flickr Creative Commons

A decade ago, Oklahoma was the poster child for states with a crumbling infrastructure.

About one-third of the state's bridges were structurally deficient, including some too dangerous for school buses or commercial trucks to cross.

When Republicans came to power in 2004, they worked with Democrats on a direct allocation of income tax revenue to fund an eight-year plan to improve roads and bridges.

The program has been successful, cutting the number of bad bridges by more than a third and leading to other safety improvements like road shoulders and cable barriers.

But the diversion of state revenue to transportation has resulted in less money for other state needs, and some GOP leaders are complaining it is putting a pinch on the Legislature's ability to respond to fiscal crises the state is facing this year.

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