Bill would prevent sale of toll roads to private businesses

By Michael McNutt Published: February 25, 2008
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The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority would be banned from selling any of the state’s 10 turnpikes to a private company according to a bill that passed a House committee Monday.

Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said she filed the bill because of problems other states have had since selling their turnpikes to private firms.

House Bill 3182 states that the Turnpike Authority “shall not enter into any contract with a private company to sell, lease, sublease, or operate any turnpike or portion of a turnpike in this state.”

“Foreign companies have been buying turnpikes ... and when they do tolls immediately go up,” Kern said.

Transportation Authority Director Phil Tomlinson said earlier the authority has no objections to the bill.

The authority has no immediate plans to pursue selling or leasing any of the turnpikes to a private company, he said. Foreign companies in recent years have bought turnpikes in Illinois and Indiana.

The House General Government and Transportation Committee passed the measure. It now goes to the Senate.