OKC VeloCity | Support for RTA, Heartland Flyer, ODOT eight-year plan among Chamber's transportation legislative priorities

Support for RTA, Heartland Flyer, ODOT eight-year plan among Chamber's transportation legislative priorities

By Chamber Staff / Policy / February 11, 2019

The Chamber recently released its legislative agenda for 2019. Get more details on our transportation priorities below:

STATE ISSUES

Major Projects
The Chamber will advocate for full funding and timely completion of work on major interchanges located at I-44/Broadway Extension and I-240/I-35 (Crossroads), as well as the following major projects: I-40 corridor east of I-35 (Tinker Air Force Base) including expansion of I-40 facility to six lanes; necessary improvements to State Highway 74 (north of Lake Hefner Parkway); and future development of I-44 corridor to provide for future mobility needs due to commercial expansion. 

ODOT Eight-Year Plan 
The Chamber supports providing adequate annual dedicated funding necessary to preserve and implement ODOT’s eight-year construction work plan. Furthermore, the Chamber will strongly oppose any effort to divert dedicated transportation funding to other areas of government.

State Bridge Improvement Plan
The Chamber supports providing adequate annual dedicated funding to implement the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Bridge Improvement Plan to repair or replace all of Oklahoma’s structurally deficient bridges on the state’s highway system by 2020 and further ensure that ODOT is able to maintain a nationally leading bridge improvement program.

Sustainable Funding 
To address the declining transportation revenues associated with fuel tax the Chamber supports the research and development of sustainable funding alternatives in support of transportation infrastructure.

State Turnpike Plan 
The Chamber supports the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s “Driving Forward” Turnpike Program, and specifically, the following Oklahoma City-area projects: 1) The construction of a new turnpike facility to link I-40 and I-44 (Turner Turnpike) in eastern Oklahoma County to ease congestion on I-35; and 2) the construction of a new southwest extension of the existing Kilpatrick Turnpike between I-40 and State Highway 152/Airport Road to ease congestion at the I-40/I-44 (K Interchange).

The Chamber supports future turnpike planning consideration to include widening the Turner Turnpike to six lanes from the current construction at mile post 203 extending west to Oklahoma City.

Ports of Entry
The Chamber supports providing adequate annual dedicated funding and staffing levels for the timely completion and effective use of weigh stations at Oklahoma’s ports of entry to ensure the protection of Oklahoma’s roads and bridges from unnecessary damage caused by overweight freight loads.

State Transit Funding
The Chamber supports protecting state revenues allocated into the State of Oklahoma’s Public Transit Revolving Fund to meet citizen demand for public transit.

Heartland Flyer
Passenger rail service is a key component of the development of the Oklahoma City intermodal hub and the future development of commuter rail throughout the central Oklahoma region. The Chamber will work with the Oklahoma congressional delegation, the Oklahoma State Legislature, ODOT, the City of Oklahoma City, the Class 1 railroads and the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) to oppose efforts to reduce or eliminate state or federal funding received by Oklahoma to operate the Heartland Flyer Amtrak service to Fort Worth, Texas. Moreover, the Chamber supports ongoing efforts by ODOT to negotiate with the State of Texas and Amtrak to ensure Amtrak can be maintained as the passenger rail carrier.

The Chamber supports continued dialogue on extending the Heartland Flyer Amtrak service to Newton, Kansas, which would connect Oklahoma City to Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago and other locations on the Amtrak system.

ODOT Long Range Freight Rail Plan and Freight Plan 
The Chamber supports the implementation of ODOT’s long-range freight rail plan and freight plan.

MUNICIPAL ISSUES

Mass Transit/Commuter Rail
The Chamber supports implementation of transit programs that will best serve central Oklahoma including the Central Oklahoma Transit and Parking Authority (COTPA) 2005 Fixed Guideway Transit Study and its following components:

  • Association of Central Oklahoma Government’s (ACOG) Regional Transit Dialogue Committees to identify regional transit alternatives/solutions for central Oklahoma.
  • ACOG’s Commuter Corridors Study recommendations to implement mitigation strategies for future congestion.

The Chamber further supports efforts by the Regional Transit Authority (RTA), consisting of six core central Oklahoma cities, to launch future regional transit services. The Chamber will work with ACOG, municipal governments, ODOT and Class 1 railroads to conduct early-stage planning for introducing commuter rail service into downtown Oklahoma City from Norman, Edmond and Midwest City. Further planning consideration should be given to potential future expansion of rail service to the Shawnee and Yukon areas.

Intermodal Hub 
The Chamber will work with the City of Oklahoma City (COTPA), the Class 1 railroads, ODOT, the Oklahoma State Legislature and ACOG to ensure the continued viability of the intermodal hub at the Santa Fe station that will effectively integrate various modes of transportation (including OKC Streetcar, Amtrak, bus, future bus rapid transit and future commuter rail) and enhance economic development opportunities.

The Chamber supports efforts to work with stakeholders to maximize alignment and development of future locally preferred alternatives for mass transportation.

Street Improvements
The Chamber supports consideration and pursuit of all available funds for ongoing and future street improvements.

OKC Streetcar
The Chamber supports efforts to ensure the viability of the Oklahoma City Streetcar system.

Bus Service
The Chamber supports greater frequency, expanded routes and expanded service hours for bus routes. The Chamber further encourages regional dialogue on providing enhanced bus service.

Bus Rapid Transit
The Chamber supports implementing bus rapid transit on key routes in Oklahoma City tied to the 2005 Fixed Guideway Transit Study.

Parking
The Chamber supports continued construction of additional parking, as appropriate on a case-by-case basis, to allow continued economic development downtown.

Alternative Transportation
The Chamber supports increased construction of sidewalks, trails and bike lanes. In addition, the Chamber supports proper implementation and consideration of bike shares, car shares, scooter shares and future technologies on a case-by-case basis. 

FEDERAL ISSUES

Federal Highway Trust Fund 
The Chamber will work with the Oklahoma Congressional delegation and ODOT to secure a permanent funding solution for the Federal Highway Trust Fund (including mass transit programs).

The Chamber supports adequate funding levels to properly maintain the national transportation system.

FAA Air Traffic Control Privatization 
The Chamber will work with the Oklahoma congressional delegation to oppose any attempt by Congress or the executive branch to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system.

Federal Capital Improvement Grants
The Chamber supports continued funding for SMALL STARTS, NEW STARTS, INFRA and BUILD grants. 

Freight Rail Regulation 
The Chamber opposes any effort by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to impose additional regulation on freight rail operators.

For more information, please contact a member of our Government Relations staff.

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