Oklahoma state lawmakers still have many important issues to address in the remaining days of the 2013 state legislative session. One of the most critical to Logan County residents and to those citizens, businesses and school buses driving on county roads across Oklahoma is HB 1080. This bill impacts all 77 county highway systems which
comprise almost 84,000 miles of roadway and over 14,000 bridges.
Within each county’s highway system the “Major Collector System” connects small communities and schools and provides corridors for local industries to move products to market. There are 15,115 miles and 4,376 bridges on the major collector system, including 181 miles in Logan County. In district two 70% of these roads are dirt/gravel, and a majority of the paved roads are between 15 and 40 years old and in dire need of repaving.
The highways and bridges on the major collector system are in extreme need of new resources to maintain existing infrastructure and to construct new roads and bridges when necessary. Beginning July 1st, HB 1080 would reallocate 2.5%, an estimated $15 million, and a year later and thereafter 5%, about $30 million, from the Oklahoma Vehicle
License and Registration Act for use on the major collector system. Logan County would receive about 1% of these revenues.
One of the primary reasons HB 1080 is needed is that, in the case of natural weather disaster, FEMA funding cannot be used to repair damage on the major collector system. Many of these roads damaged in the last decade still remain in disrepair. Without new revenue, Oklahoma’s county highways and bridges will continue to deteriorate at a rate
that will make it very difficult for counties to ever be able to fully address maintenance and construction issues. In addition, the new revenue is generated by the license tag fees Oklahoma residents pay annually to drive on state and county roads and bridges. All of the 231 county commissioners strongly believe that these funds must be
invested and returned to Oklahoma’s county transportation infrastructure.
I understand the myriad of important issues members of the legislature face, especially during the last month of session. Investing in Oklahoma’s county roads and bridges, through the passage of HB 1080, is critical to continue Oklahoma’s economic growth. The legislature can show its commitment to Oklahoma’s transportation infrastructure by sending HB 1080 to Governor Fallin for her signature. This will positively impact our state for decades to come.