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Operational changes reduce complaints about Oklahoma turnpikes

Oklahoma government as a whole has been working toward better transparency and the turnpike authority is no exception, Gary Ridley, secretary of transportation, said.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD Modified: September 22, 2012 at 10:28 pm •  Published: September 24, 2012

Operational changes within the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and the state's transportation programming in general have contributed to a decrease in public complaints in recent years, state transportation officials say.

Oklahoma government as a whole has been working toward better transparency and the Turnpike Authority is no exception, said Gary Ridley, secretary of transportation.

An extensive update to the authority's website about eight years ago brought about links to annual and long-term financial reports and projections, budgets and capital plans and bondholder reports. Additionally, a culture change in the Legislature — by which lawmakers decided to exchange operational control for more stringent oversight — improved the authority's legitimacy, Ridley said.

“I think you'll find very few states in the country where that's the case, that projects and corridors aren't decided by the political arm of the government, that the transportation officials make the recommendations of where the funds are spent,” he said.

Though the authority logs about 1,000 individual complaints annually, most come from turnpike users who don't fully understand how the system works.

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