TRUST Unveils Legislative Agenda
Transportation Revenues Used Strictly For Transportation (TRUST), an advocacy group dedicated to funding and restoring Oklahoma’s infrastructure, announced its 2011 legislative agenda today with protection of the state’s eight-year road and bridge construction work plan as its top priority.
With an FY-2012 budget shortfall possibly as high as $600 million, TRUST leaders emphasized the importance of protecting funding for road and bridge construction, particularly the eight-year construction work plan currently underway by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT).
“Investing in transportation infrastructure should always be a priority of state government and much improvement has been made over the past five years,” said TRUST president Neal McCaleb, former state transportation secretary and director of ODOT and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
“With another significant budget shortfall, it is imperative lawmakers and the governor continue to recognize the economic importance of a vibrant transportation infrastructure.” TRUST co-chairman and former governor Frank Keating said, “Transportation investment is as important as ever in 2011 if Oklahoma is to continue on the path to economic vitality. The Legislature simply must continue to recognize the public safety and economic development benefits a modern transportation infrastructure provides.”
“It is very important that the Legislature continue to examine alternative transportation funding options,” said TRUST co-chairman and Spirit Bank CEO Kell Kelly. “TRUST is looking forward to participating in the Oklahoma Innovative Funding Task Force for Roads established in 2010 in hopes new alternatives will emerge that will result in additional funding options for road and bridge construction and maintenance.”
In addition to protection of the eight-year construction work plan, the TRUST agenda includes raising the ROADS Fund spending cap, participating on the Oklahoma Innovative Funding Task Force for Roads, redirecting all motor vehicle generated fees and license tag renewal late fees to transportation, support of the Indian Reservation Roads Program, supporting the expediting of Ports of Entry completion and support of a permanent reauthorization of federal highway surface programs, such as Highway Trust Fund, in order to reverse Oklahoma’s status as a donor state.