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Keep an eye on funding

BY NEAL McCALEB Published: September 28, 2009

/> This flawed rescission is ultimately a result of one thing: the procrastination of Congress in reforming highway law to allow for alternative revenue sources to rescue the federal fuel tax, which will never again be sufficient to meet highway investment obligations.

We don’t lack solutions. We lack the political fortitude to act on them, because solutions involve using private capital, increased tolling, congestion pricing, bonds or assessing fees based on vehicle miles traveled.

For Oklahoma there are bright spots in this dismal picture. While Congress as a whole has lacked action on this issue, Oklahoma’s congressional delegation is solidly committed to finding a solution and have shown exemplary leadership in making transportation a priority and working across party lines to do what’s best for the state.

Additionally, the Legislature has championed increased investments over the last four years. Thanks to its efforts, state Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley reported earlier this month the largest increase in bridge work ever incorporated into the agency’s eight-year construction plan.

Those who care about the future of our state and nation should pay close attention to what Congress does to actually fund highway policy. For more information about this issue or other Oklahoma transportation initiatives, visit

McCaleb, former state secretary of transportation, is president of the road and bridge advocacy coalition TRUST.

Oklahoma is facing the possibility of losing $135 million over the next 18 months, because of a flawed $8.7 billion funding "rescission” scheduled in current federal highway law.


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