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Funding raid to slow Oklahoma agency’s transportation plans

Road Construction / Cropped Photo: kxln univision 45 / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma transportation officials say the Legislature’s decision to divert about $150 million in agency road and bridge funding to help close a hole in next year’s budget is expected to lead to delays in starting some projects in its eight-year construction plan.

But Department of Transportation Director Mike Patterson said Monday that ongoing construction projects will not have to be suspended, as was initially feared.

Facing a shortfall of $878 million in the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, lawmakers tapped $100 million from the agency’s construction program funds and another $53 million from a maintenance and operations fund. They also raided $3 million from a weigh station revolving account.

Separately, lawmakers took $50 million from a county road and bridge improvement fund.