Monday, April 25, 2011

Cockroft Column: Road Investment Paying Off

Transportation and infrastructure was a major component of my campaign. With this in mind, I would like to tell you about a report released by Washington, D.C.-based The Road Information Program, which shows that Oklahoma’s investment in roads is paying off.
The report found that the increased road funding approved over the past five years has dramatically reduced the number of deficient bridges and possibly saved lives.
The report shows Oklahoma has reduced the number of structurally deficient, state-maintained bridges by 32 percent. Over the last five years lawmakers have pumped an additional $700 million into the state’s transportation system and an addition $1 billion is scheduled to be provided over the next five years.
Based on an anticipated $1.1 billion in state appropriations for road and bridge repair through 2015, the report projects Oklahoma will reduce the number of structurally deficient state bridges to 504 by 2015, a 57 percent reduction from 2005 levels.
In spite of those successes, Oklahoma still has a long way to go. The state still ranks second in the nation, behind only Pennsylvania, in the number of bridges rated structurally deficient.
New funding also allowed the installation of median barriers along hundreds of miles of roadways, improving road safety. The number of people killed in traffic accidents on Oklahoma roadways dropped from 737 in 2009 to 625 in 2010 – the lowest number of traffic fatalities in the state since 1992, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
I am proud to support transportation funding. It is among my budget priorities this year. I believe it is a public safety issue and also crucial to our local economy.

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