Conference seeks ideas, solutions regarding transportation in Oklahoma

BY NEAL MCCALEB AND CRAIG KNUTSON Published: May 5, 2013

People make residential and locational decisions based upon optimal access to schools, employment and retail options. Businesses make critical investment decisions in terms of expansion and relocation predicated on whether the state and communities possess safe, reliable and efficient transportation infrastructure.

Area Development, a leading site and facility planning magazine for economic developers, has conducted an annual survey of corporate executives for more than 25 years. To quote from its latest survey results (2011), “93.8 percent rate highway accessibility as the top ranked site selection factor,” followed closely by labor costs, at 88.4 percent.

Highway accessibility competed against 25 other business climate factors to earn the top spot. And while highways are critical, it is important to note that approximately 54 percent of all lane miles in the state of Oklahoma reside in our municipalities.

Transportation is more than just the movement of people and product. It's also about the movement of charged atoms (electricity), analog and digital signals (voice, data, video), and the high-speed data paths to carry the latter.

An efficient, multi-modal transportation network is critical to sustaining economic growth. In addition to the movement of people and product, a strong transportation network strengthens our economy, protects our environment and supports our quality of life.

For Oklahoma to remain a destination choice in this fiercely competitive international marketplace, we need to have a modern transportation infrastructure that functions at its highest level and provides for the competitive movement of people, product and information.