ODOT Preparing For Effects Of Revenue Failure

Jan 5, 2016

The state’s revenue failure means the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will lose money for a fund supported by personal income taxes.

The Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety — or ROADS — fund was set up in 2005. Each year, it typically receives the same funding as the previous year plus about $60 million, up to a cap of $575 million.

ODOT expects to cut $13 million from the fund, which Director Mike Patterson said will likely delay new projects.

"We are not going to reduce our maintenance budget. We are not going to reduce our asset preservation budget, because they are so important to maintaining the system," Patterson said.

The ROADS fund is also the main source of funding for fixing structurally deficient bridges.

"The one group of projects that will absolutely not be affected are those bridge rehabilitation and replacement projects that are sorely needed," Patterson said.

ODOT is working toward a goal of having fewer than one in 100 of the state’s bridges classified as structurally deficient by 2020. Patterson says 10 years ago, about one in five were.

The loss of money also creates uncertainty for ODOT's latest eight-year construction plan, which involves $6.5 billion in projects.

"Normally, if we have extra money left over because of bids coming in less than our estimate, we just add another project to the list and accelerate a project from next year," Patterson said. "But if we’re not able to do that, we won’t be able to do that."

ODOT is also moving almost $4 million from services deemed "non-essential" in order to cover highway maintenance because of an executive order from Gov. Mary Fallin last year.