ODOT getting more money than expected

Tuesday, July 8th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma Transportation Department will receive more money to maintain state roads and bridges but officials say even more is needed.

ODOT has received more than $709 million, an increase from the $662 million budget members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved in June.

Of the additional $47 million, about $37 million more will be available for maintenance work.

The additional money will mean more than $119.3 million set aside for the same type of work in fiscal year 2003, which ended June 30.

Commissioners were told about the change Monday as they considered approving a revised agency budget.

Even with the extra money, ODOT officials won't have enough to make progress on improving the roadway system.

John Fuller, ODOT's assistant director for operations, said maintenance has priority within the department because of the worsening condition of the state's bridges and highways.

A study released by The Road Information Program (TRIP) earlier this year said the average Oklahoman loses more than $1,000 annually to car repairs, lost time and longer commutes because of poor roads and bridges.

Legislators considered a House bill earlier this year that would have asked voters to approve a gradual fuel tax increase to provide more money for road and bridge maintenance.

The bill remains alive for the Legislature's next session, its author said.

Commission members also learned that David Streb, who had been serving as an interim director of the agency's preconstruction efforts for months, won the job permanently.

Streb, 44, oversees preconstruction research, design and property acquisition activities of various agency divisions in his new role.

A Rochester, N.Y., native, he started with the Transportation Department in 1987 as a student engineer.