Breakdown of Department of Transportation Funds

A breakdown of Department of Transportation funds illustrates where Roads, Highway and Bridge money is actually being spent.

Motor Vehicle Collections are your Excise Taxes you pay when you buy a vehicle, your Driver’s License and License Plate fees.  Motor Fuel Taxes are the gasoline and diesel taxes you pay at the pump.

 

Of this money you can see where it is going:

  • $317.6 to County Highways and Bridges (30.1%)  ($50 Million diverted to general revenue)
  • $261.4 Million to school districts (21.4%).
  • $212.6 Million to “other non-highway uses” ($17.5% to ODOT for new roads, highways, bridges and maintaining current assets.)
  • $196 Million to general revenue (16.1%).
  • $76.8% Non-Highway uses (6.3%)
  • $44 Million to Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (3.6%)
  • $27.7 Cities & Towns (2.3%)
  • $20.4 Indian Tribes (1.7%)

 

State motor fuel tax
Motor vehicle collections
State motor fuel & motor vehicle collections

 

So $1,219,423, 948 Billion in motor vehicle fees and taxes were collected and $564 Million didn’t go to Roads, Highways and Bridges.  46% of the money collected was diverted from Transportation needs.  I say needs because Oklahoma has a LOT of bridges that are rated D or F.  The legislature has funded many bridge projects and progress is being made after decades different priorities winning out over roads and bridges.

Our State is growing and the need for new roads is apparent.  Safety needs and efficiency are concerns that make common sense and most Oklahomans would agree on.

I want to see our transportation needs met.  New loops and routes to move traffic off I-35 are all well and good but roads and highways in good repair, with adequate shoulders and no potholes make for safe passage as well.  If we spent the $564 Million, otherwise diverted, on Transportation projects, we shouldn’t need to use Turnpike bonds to fund the work.  Oklahoma should have at least GOOD roads and bridges.  Depending on Turnpike bonds only puts our State deeper in debt, continues to break the legislative promise to revert toll roads to “free” roads, and allows current roads, highways and bridges to fall further in disrepair.  

Priorities:

  1. Determine what our transportation needs are (See ODOT’s 8 year plan).
  2. Fund enough money to keep the ODOT plan on track and maintain the roads and bridges we have.
  3. Fund the Bridge “Catch-up” plan to make sure all our bridges are safe.
  4. Work towards “freeing up” our current toll roads, not adding to them.
  5. Properly fund future transportation needs.
  6. STOP the diversion of Transportation funds.

What can I do?

  1. Contact your State Representative and Senator and demand Motor Vehicle Taxes and Collections go to Transportation projects.
  2. Demand that the State’s promise to “free” tolls be met before any other promises.
  3. Demand an explanation of why $44 Million per year in Motor Fuel Taxes are going to the Turnpike Authority.  Is it a loan?  Has the State been repaid?  If no, why not?
  4. Demand an end to “Cross Pledging.”

 

Notes:

  1. Out-of-State drivers buy a lot of fuel and contribute to our Motor Fuel Collections.  They have a reasonable expectation of safe passage on our roads, highways and bridges.
  2. Motor Fuel Taxes are collected by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
    1. Why?  Isn’t that double taxation?
    2. Are the Motor Fuel Taxes then forwarded to the OK Tax Commission?
    3. Are any of those Motor Fuel Taxes used by the OTA for any reason?
  3. The State of Oklahoma is not able to maintain its roads, highways and bridges and build new ones at current funding levels.
    1. We have as many as 50% of our bridges that are deficient.
      1. Down from 80% or more in just the past 10 years.
  4. Good roads and bridges are crucial to our State’s economy and the safety of our citizens and guests.