Oklahoma counties' plans for asphalt plant draw fire from contractors, legislators

BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: December 2, 2012

The district will use $400,000 of private dollars to secure a $2 million loan for the project, he said, and will sell the emulsion initially to district counties. Expanding sales to additional districts is not out of the question later, he said.

“What the private sector doesn't like about this oil is that this means they're going to be selling less oil on the market,” he said. “We have to be responsible in what we do to make sure it meets the approval of the taxpayers and we're doing something that helps them.”

Gene Wallace, president of the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma, said the plant fits in with the districts' goal to increase efficiencies and save taxpayer money.

The districts are especially effective in rural areas, where services are limited.

“The people who elect us have demanded that we try to do it the most efficient way possible,” he said.

Subcommittee chair Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, said he would support legislation that curbs government growth.

Marlatt criticized Goucher for not requesting the state's asphalt vendors produce the emulsion.

“I don't know why we don't turn to the private sector first,” he said. “We're suing the federal government for getting involved in the health care business. Is that really what we want, the government competing with the private sector?”