Are Oklahoma Toll Roads Here To Stay? - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Are Oklahoma Toll Roads Here To Stay?

Posted: Updated:
Drivers who travel Oklahoma's turnpikes are already used to paying tolls.  Now they'll pay more, 16% more. Drivers who travel Oklahoma's turnpikes are already used to paying tolls. Now they'll pay more, 16% more.
"People spend a little bit more money to drive our turnpikes so, they expect a little higher service from us. And, this will allow us to keep that service up," said the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's Jack Damrill. "People spend a little bit more money to drive our turnpikes so, they expect a little higher service from us. And, this will allow us to keep that service up," said the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's Jack Damrill.
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority says all of the toll roads should be paid off by 2028, unless more debt is incurred. The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority says all of the toll roads should be paid off by 2028, unless more debt is incurred.

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The turnpike toll hike has some viewers wondering if Oklahoma will ever be able to pay off its toll roads.  Jo Ellen from Bristow wrote The News On 6 and asked:  "How come the state of Kentucky can keep its promises and take the toll booths down as each toll road bond issue is paid off and Oklahoma can't?"

Average Daily Traffic
on Oklahoma's Turnpikes
Turner - 43,148
Will Rogers - 38,830
H.E. Bailey - 45,042
Mukogee - 28,397
Cimarron - 18,629
Indian Nation - 17,283
Kilpatrick - 96,419
Cherokee - 10,846
Creek - 99,010
Chickasaw - 2,425
Jo Ellen is right about Kentucky.   It no longer has toll roads.  But, don't expect that to happen in the Sooner State for at least another two decades.

07/15/2009  Related Story: Oklahoma Turnpike Tolls Going Up In August

Drivers who travel Oklahoma's turnpikes are already used to paying tolls.  Now they'll pay more, 16% more.  The hike will make up for a revenue shortfall, but it's not likely to be a popular move.  Even the head of the Downtown Tag Agency is already complaining.

"It seems like we're taxed pretty heavily enough.  As the tolls go up, it's one more expense that you've got to account for," said Devon Jones with the Downtown Tag Agency.

But, there are plenty highways to maintain.  Per capita, Oklahoma has more miles of toll roads than any other state.  We average 168 miles for every one million people.  That's almost twice as much as number two, Kansas.

"People spend a little bit more money to drive our turnpikes so, they expect a little higher service from us. And, this will allow us to keep that service up," said the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's Jack Damrill.

Oklahoma hopes to follow the example of Kentucky, which has spent the past 20 years tearing down its toll booths.  As of 2006, it is toll free.        

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority says tolls are necessary until the debt on roads here is paid off, and it will be a while before that happens.

"Once our debt is paid, it's scheduled to be paid off in 2028, we have said and always said, unless we incur any new debt, the roads would be free in 2028," said the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's Jack Damrill.

While the Turnpike Authority has nearly 20 years to accomplish that, it's a goal that some say just isn't realistic.

"If their history is any indication, I don't look for that in the future," said Devon Jones with the Downtown Tag Agency.

There are costs that come with getting rid of tolls.  Kentucky pays for maintenance on its roads by taxing fuel and new vehicle sales.

Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
TULSA'S OWN TM
GREEN COUNTRY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.