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Out Of State Companies Cashing In On Oklahoma Stimulus Funds

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The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is dishing out more than $450 million in stimulus dollars, but they're not all going to Oklahoma companies. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is dishing out more than $450 million in stimulus dollars, but they're not all going to Oklahoma companies.
According to state law, as long as a company's pre-qualified, ODOT must award the project to the lowest bidder. It just so happens that 19% of ODOT's stimulus projects went to companies whose headquarters are in another state. According to state law, as long as a company's pre-qualified, ODOT must award the project to the lowest bidder. It just so happens that 19% of ODOT's stimulus projects went to companies whose headquarters are in another state.
"We certainly like competition, anything that would prohibit competition or inhibit competition could result in higher prices to the public," said Gary Evans, Director of Operations for ODOT. "We certainly like competition, anything that would prohibit competition or inhibit competition could result in higher prices to the public," said Gary Evans, Director of Operations for ODOT.
Companies are not just crossing Oklahoma state lines for work. C. Watts and Sons, an Oklahoma company, won an $11.3 million contract for stimulus construction in Arkansas. Companies are not just crossing Oklahoma state lines for work. C. Watts and Sons, an Oklahoma company, won an $11.3 million contract for stimulus construction in Arkansas.

By Amy Lester, Oklahoma Impact Team

UNDATED -- The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is dishing out more than $450 million in stimulus dollars, but they're not all going to Oklahoma companies.

"I don't see it as an issue, I see it as healthy for the industry," said Gary Evans, Director of Operations for ODOT.

According to state law, as long as a company's pre-qualified, ODOT must award the project to the lowest bidder. It just so happens that 19% of ODOT's stimulus projects went to companies whose headquarters are in another state. ODOT reports that's a typical amount and good for competition.

"We certainly like competition, anything that would prohibit competition or inhibit competition could result in higher prices to the public," said Evans.

Click here to see what companies are doing ODOT stimulus projects.

Koss Construction, based in Kansas, is doing three highway stimulus projects in Oklahoma worth more than $54 million.

"It's been good for business for us," said David Howard, President of Koss Construction.

Howard prefers to work in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. He says the company must cover three states to keep busy enough to make money and pay the bills.

"It really comes down to whether the project fits in our overall schedule and then of course we have to have a price that's attractive to the owner," Howard explains.

Companies are not just crossing Oklahoma state lines for work. C. Watts and Sons, an Oklahoma company, won an $11.3 million contract for stimulus construction in Arkansas. The company's building a new highway and plans to hire about 40 people.

"I'm excited about having work anywhere," said Calvin Watts, CEO of C. Watts and Sons Construction Company. "I'd rather be doing it here in the state, it would be closer, but it's okay where it is. It's work, in other words."

Some companies don't have to leave the state to find stimulus jobs. Haskell Lemon Construction Company was the low bidder on seven stimulus projects in Oklahoma.

"We've been fortunate in receiving some contracts and we've been unfortunate in missing quite a few also," said Jay Lemon, Haskell Lemon Construction Company.

There's no question, whether the companies are in state or from other states, doing work here, creates jobs.

"We did hire between 20 and 25 employees to come and assist and ramp up and allow us to expedite some of the projects and it's been a good thing," said Lemon.

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