OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled against a group opposing a controversial turnpike plan in its latest battle to stop the project.
Pike Off OTA, a group opposing the turnpike plan, sued the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and the case went before the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Pike Off OTA challenged the OTA’s authority to construct three proposed turnpikes; the Tri-City Connector, the East-West Connector, and the South Extension.
The Tri-City Connector runs around the west side of the Will Rogers World Airport to I-44.
The East-West Connector connects the H.E. Bailey Turnpike around Newcastle, heading east on Indian Hills Road to the south of Draper Lake. It then heads northeast connecting to the Kickapoo Turnpike and completing the Oklahoma City Outer Loop.
The South Extension runs from I-35 west of Slaughterville and north of Purcell, across the South Canadian River and north through Norman, west of Thunderbird Lake. It will then connect to the East-West Connector.
Pike Off OTA filed the lawsuit, claiming the OTA “lacks statutory authorization to construct the South Extension” and that it had “exceeded its statutory authorization by seeking an additional bond issue to complete the loop.”
The lawsuit also claims that the plan “violates Oklahoma citizens’ legal and due process rights under several state and federal laws.”
However, the Oklahoma Supreme Court disagreed.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the group “failed to establish that they have a clear legal right to the injunctive.”
“Appellants are not seeking a typical preventative or prohibitive injunction to preserve the status quo. Instead, Appellants seek a mandatory injunction, which is an ‘extraordinary remedial process that commands the performance of some positive act.”
In the ruling, the court said appellants seeking this type of injunction “must show a violation of a clear legal right and a case of necessity and great hardship.”
The court said they failed to do so.
Last month, OTA announced that it was pausing construction on the Access Oklahoma plan.
The agency said that it remains in a strong financial position, but it can’t continue funding work without a clear timetable for access to the bond market.
“The plan is simply delayed until the point that we can see our way clear to go to the bond markets,” Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation and OTA Executive Director Tim Gatz said.
Late on Tuesday, the Pike Off Lawyer had this statement sent to KFOR:
“Really all the Supreme Court is saying is that since it’s going to decide the fate of the new turnpikes anyway, it’s going to decide them in the bond validation case. Today’s decision does not allow the OTA to get to the bond market for the purpose of moving forward with the new turnpikes.”Robert Norman, Pike Off Attorney