OKC VeloCity | Sustainable funding, bridge improvement, transit funding, Heartland Flyer & RTA support among Chamberís Transportation legislative priorities

Sustainable funding, bridge improvement, transit funding, Heartland Flyer & RTA support among Chamberís Transportation legislative priorities

By Chamber Staff / Policy / February 4, 2020

The Chamber recently released its legislative agenda for 2020. Get more details on our Transportation-related legislative priorities below:

STATE ISSUES

Major Projects
The Chamber will advocate for full funding and timely completion of work on the following major interchanges/projects:

  • I-44/I-235 (between NW 63rd and N. 50th  streets)
  • I-240/I-35 (Crossroads)
  • I-35/I-44 (Remington Park)
  • I-44/Rt. 66/SH-3 (In vicinity of Lake Hefner Parkway/NW Exp.)
  • I-44/I-40 (K Interchange/Near State Fairgrounds)
  • Necessary improvements to I-40 corridor east of I-35 (Tinker Air Force Base) including expansion of I-40 facility to six lanes from Douglas Boulevard to Shawnee
  • Future development of I-44 corridor from I-40 to SH-62 (southwest OKC to Newcastle) to better provide for future mobility needs due to ongoing commercial expansion

ODOT Eight-Year Plan
The Chamber supports providing adequate annual dedicated funding necessary to preserve and implement the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) 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 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 (OTA) “Driving Forward” Turnpike Program, and specifically, the following Oklahoma City-area projects:

  • Construction of the Kickapoo Turnpike to link I-40 and I-44 (Turner Turnpike) in eastern Oklahoma County to ease congestion on I-35
  • Construction of a new southwest extension of the existing John Kilpatrick Turnpike between I-40 and State Highway 152/Airport Road to ease congestion at the I-40/I-44 (K Interchange/Near State Fairgrounds)

The Chamber further supports 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; and, further supports the creation and implementation of the State Office of Mobility and Transit within ODOT. 

Heartland Flyer
Passenger rail service is a key component of the continued viability 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.

Interstate Commerce
The Chamber opposes legislation to limit the ability of Class 1 railroads to conduct interstate commerce. 

The Chamber supports state law to allow platooning of semi-trucks to allow for safer and more efficient conduct of interstate commerce. 

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.

ODOT Long Range Plan
The Chamber supports development of ODOT’s 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan.

Seat Belt Law to Protect Childhood Safety
The Chamber supports passage of a new state law to require 8-17 year olds to wear seat belts while being transported in the back seat.

 

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 Transportation Authority (RTA), consisting of six core central Oklahoma cities, to launch future regional transit services. The Chamber will work with the RTA, ACOG, municipal governments, ODOT and Class 1 railroads to conduct early-stage planning for introducing commuter rail service into downtown Oklahoma City from Norman and Edmond with alternative transportation options to Del City 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 continued 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 (BRT)
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 and viable park and ride locations, 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

America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act
The Chamber supports adequate funding for America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act, a multi-year reauthorization of the federal surface transportation bill. 

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.

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

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.

Clean Air Nonattainment
The Chamber will work with the Oklahoma congressional delegation, ODOT, ACOG, the City of Oklahoma City, the private sector, and additional partners to take necessary proactive steps to ensure the Greater Oklahoma City region is not designated as being in nonattainment of federal air quality standards. 

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

 

The Chamber will advocate on behalf of its members at the State Capitol throughout the 2020 legislative session in pursuit of making Oklahoma a top ten state for economic development. Read the full list at OKCChamber.com/legislative. To stay informed of these efforts, sign up for alerts at okcbusinessadvocate.com.

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

 

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