State House approves $50 million for Oklahoma City's Crosstown Expressway

Monday, November 22nd 2004, 6:12 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ After including funds for the Crosstown Expressway project in Oklahoma City in a federal spending bill, Rep. Ernest Istook reiterated his position that the state and city should pay for some of the project.

The House approved $50 million Saturday for the estimated $350 million project, the most expensive road project in state history.

The project involves moving the current four-mile section of the I-40 Crosstown Expressway about five blocks to the south. Once the new expressway is completed, the existing stretch of I-40 will be converted into a downtown boulevard.

Istook, R-Warr Acres, said he reminded local leaders that their total reliance on federal funding is adding years to the construction time.

``They constantly comment that this is the highest priority transportation project anywhere in Oklahoma, yet not a single penny of state or local dollars has been committed to the project,'' Istook told The Oklahoman's Washington bureau.

``The state is managing the work, but the federal government is paying for it.''

With the $50 million approved Saturday, the Crosstown project has gotten a total of $195 million in dedicated federal funding since 1998.

Oklahoma transportation officials have said the project is too expensive to fund from the state's annual allocation of federal road money, which is about $500 million per year.