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Oklahoma Turnpike Authority hits the brakes on expansion project amid legal matters

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is running into a major roadblock on its 15-year, $5 billion ACCESS Oklahoma Turnpike Project. As of Friday, all work will cease on the several ACCESS projects already underway.

The stoppage comes as several pending legal matters work their way through the courts, and there are a few: an alleged Open Meeting Act violation case, a case challenging the agency’s legislative authority to build in several areas, and an impending state investigative audit. Because of these, the OTA has been prevented from accessing the bond market to further fund the ACCESS projects.

The stoppage includes current work on the Turner Turnpike as well as other major ACCESS projects around the state the agency calls “high priority.” OTA says normal operations and maintenance won’t be affected by the stoppage.

OTA Executive Director Tim Gatz says despite the stoppage, the agency is still in a “strong financial position.” Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond weighed in with a press release, saying the stoppage shows the investigative audit is “needed now more than ever.”

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Beth reports on education topics for StateImpact Oklahoma.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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