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Plan to distribute of bridge funds disputed

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) An Oklahoma County commissioner believes a plan to distribute funding for bridges is not fair for the state's more populated areas.

Commissioner Jim Roth said Tuesday that the $25 million in state funds allocated for repair, renovation, rehabilitation and replacement of county bridges should not be divided equally among Oklahoma's 77 counties, as has been recommended by the Association of County Commissioners, which determines how the money will be distributed.

Under the association's plan, Oklahoma County, the most populated in the state, will receive a per capita allotment of 49 cents per resident, while Tulsa County will get 57 cents per person.

Cimarron County in the Panhandle, the state's least populated with less than 3,000 people, will receive more than $103 per person.

Each county will receive $324,675 in funds.

Mike Thompson, the association's board president, said that's fair because poor counties deserve money as much as bigger counties.

``It's important to all of us,'' Thompson said. ``We can't always be worried about ourselves. We try to take care of our own counties, but there's some bridges out in the state that need to be fixed, and we need to share, and give and take a little bit.''

Roth disagrees and has placed an item on the Oklahoma County Commissioners' agenda for their meeting Wednesday. He thinks the money should have been divided based on bridge sufficiency ratings or school bus routes or by using a business analysis.

``I feel like we have a good rapport with Oklahoma County, and I'd like to keep it that way, Thompson said. ``But do I think that they should get a bunch more money than the rest of us? No. Because you've got a lot of counties out here that need this.''
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