Study: Tulsa Roads Among Nation's Worst

Friday, May 8th 2009, 6:22 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- An expert panel has confirmed what every Tulsa driver already knows -- our roads are in terrible shape.

Besides the weather, talking about the condition of Oklahoma's road is a favorite pastime for many drivers.

"They're terrible," cab driver Pam Woodward said. "They need to be fixed, quick."

Even with the current boom in construction, with huge projects coming from the federal stimulus plan, many drivers feel Oklahoma's roads are not as good as the roads in other states.

"You get in other states, they have good roads," driver Loren Beck said. "They really do, even Texas. You get down there, and they're better."

Said Bobby Stem, director of the Association of General Contractors: "We know how to build them. They need to figure out how to finance them."

Stem says there is a study that shows just how poor the roads are in Oklahoma. It listed the rough roads in Tulsa as the ninth worst and Oklahoma City as the 15th worst in the country.

The poor roads cost drivers in Tulsa an extra $703 dollars a year. For Oklahoma City, the estimate is $631.

The report concludes that no city or state is doing enough preventive maintenance to fix the roads and the only solution is more construction. That creates the problem of not enough money to do the work.

"Some of the stats are, if you want to take care of just the roads we have now, you would need a 13-cent extra gas tax, and that's no extra capacity," Stem said. "So I don't think people are going to go for a gas tax, so you have to come up with innovative ways to do it."

For now the state is spending millions of dollars from the stimulus package and signing some of the biggest road contracts ever written in the state.

Most drivers believe it's about time.

"Interstates, turnpikes, they're working on them all the time, but I don't think you'll ever see them fixed," Beck said.

Read the full report.