View Full Version : ODOT Cuts



bombermwc
05-28-2010, 02:55 PM
So if ODOT ends up having to face a 40% cut to their already insanely small budget, what are we going to do?

First off, will the I-40 project in OKC and the I-44 project in Tulsa even continue or will they just stop in the middle of mucking it all up? Federal funds can't pay for all of it....

And this brings up another question I've asked before....why can't get convince people that a small 5cent tax on a gallon of gas will do WONDERS for our roads? So in a 15-20 gallon tank of gas, you spend up to a dollar more for your fillup. It's a small impact on you, but a HUGE influx of dollars to ODOT to get crap done.

We all like to complain about them, but really what can you do when your funding is stuck in the early 80's with 00's prices and requirements.

Steve
05-28-2010, 03:19 PM
Another question: how does this influence your confidence in assurances by the mayor that the boulevard will be built by 2014? (It is still not funded) Keep in mind Core to Shore is designed around the addition of the boulevard.

mugofbeer
05-28-2010, 03:21 PM
So who'se up for a $.05 gas tax increase?

Dulahey
05-28-2010, 03:43 PM
Bigger problem is that the federal funds are dropping.

Last year was the first year this happened since the 50's. For the first time ever, people are driving LESS. The budget slowly increased every year because people drove more and more every year since the 50's and interstate/policies were created.

LordGerald
05-28-2010, 03:47 PM
Bigger problem is that the federal funds are dropping.

Last year was the first year this happened since the 50's. For the first time ever, people are driving LESS. The budget slowly increased every year because people drove more and more every year since the 50's and interstate/policies were created.

You are correct. Not only are people driving less, they are driving more fuel efficient vehicles, which means they are buying less gas. The Highway Trust Fund is funded by gasoline tax, so the less gas sold means less money for the fund. We need, as a country, to address this issue and look for alternative funding mechanisms. As unpopular as the concept of a vehicle miles travelled fee is, it is a feasible and sound proposal that we should think about.

Dulahey
05-28-2010, 03:51 PM
Man, the miles traveled fee would be EXTREMELY unpopular in Oklahoma. We drive more miles on average than most all states. Would definitely make people change their driving habits.

kevinpate
05-28-2010, 03:53 PM
Another question: how does this influence your confidence in assurances by the mayor that the boulevard will be built by 2014? (It is still not funded) Keep in mind Core to Shore is designed around the addition of the boulevard.

Some of us still have trouble accepting the completion of the relocation of 40 by 2014. Since it's a done deal, I'd like it done, but it wouldn't be a surprise to me to see a new kink or three arise along the way to completion.

As for the blvd? I don't think they could pull it off by 2014 if it was fully funded and shovel ready, but hey, I'm often a cynic when I only have a small shake for lunch, even if it was tasty.

Spartan
05-28-2010, 03:56 PM
Is ODOT getting their transportation project funding cut by 40% or their staffing budget cut by 40%? Is it really a 40% cut?

If you ask me, they could do without a lot of stuff. Look at the massive I-35 widening project all the way through Cleveland County underway right now in which each underpass has a decorative theme where it will be adorned by large amounts of public art that will be admired by everyone whizzing underneath it at 70 mph.

OKCTalker
05-28-2010, 04:06 PM
Oklahoma levies 17 cents/gallon for gasoline taxes (The Tax Foundation - Tax Data for 51 (http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/topic/51.html)) but I can't find how it is spent. I thought that a substantial portion of gas taxes ALREADY went to highways, but I guess that's a misnomer?

Dulahey
05-28-2010, 04:30 PM
I-40 is pretty much guaranteed to be done. All non-surfacing projects have been let.

The decorations on the bridges in Norman is a very minimal cost. I don't know the details of how it was done at the moment, but it easily could have been done with NO extra cost.

And another fact about gas tax is that Oklahoma has the LOWEST gas tax in the country. Definitely doesn't help things. But this is a very anti-tax state.

okcpulse
05-28-2010, 04:33 PM
ODOT is getting a 7% cut instead of 40%.

LordGerald
05-28-2010, 04:35 PM
Some of us still have trouble accepting the completion of the relocation of 40 by 2014. Since it's a done deal, I'd like it done, but it wouldn't be a surprise to me to see a new kink or three arise along the way to completion.

As for the blvd? I don't think they could pull it off by 2014 if it was fully funded and shovel ready, but hey, I'm often a cynic when I only have a small shake for lunch, even if it was tasty.

I think you're dead-on. I-40 will be complete sometime in 2012, and then ODOT has to tear down the old bridge. That project is funded, but it's going to take a while.

As for funding for the boulevard, it would be helpful if we had strong leadership from our Congressional representatives, but alas, one of them is too busy running for Guvnah, and one of our Senators doesn't understand the game of politics.

PennyQuilts
05-28-2010, 04:37 PM
Man, the miles traveled fee would be EXTREMELY unpopular in Oklahoma. We drive more miles on average than most all states. Would definitely make people change their driving habits.

I'd like to see those stats. A lot of people who live in places with public transportation have to live a long way out of town (or work) to find someplace affordable to live. And places like Texas and the like are full of wide open spaces, just like Oklahoma.

windowphobe
05-28-2010, 04:49 PM
A simple fuel-tax increase is the best way to deal with it, but since it gives politicians no cover, we're not going to see it.

PennyQuilts
05-28-2010, 05:14 PM
Out of curiosity, I looked this up - here is a rather dated report about average miles driven:

Here is an article that is a little newer:

Inland drivers rank 14th in nation in miles driven per capita | Inland News | PE.com | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California (http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_S_drivetimes16.d907c7.html)

For what it is worth...

SOONER8693
05-28-2010, 05:20 PM
So who'se up for a $.05 gas tax increase?
I'd go for it in a heartbeat. But, I'm most likely in the minority.

betts
05-28-2010, 05:27 PM
Me too. I've never minded taxing myself a bit for the good of the city/state

Dulahey
05-28-2010, 05:34 PM
it would be helpful if we had strong leadership from our Congressional representatives, but alas, one of them is too busy running for Guvnah, and one of our Senators doesn't understand the game of politics.

Note: This is not a political statement at all. I stay out of such discussions. Just stating a fact I learned a couple weeks ago.


Some of the gas taxes from all the states (except maybe Oregon) go to a pool in Washington. This large pool of money is then divided back among the states based on some crazy equation. For a very long time... (forever AFAIK) Oklahoma has been a donor-state. This means that we were getting back LESS money from this large pool than what we put into it. Recently (don't know date), Inhofe got it to where we get back the same amount that we put in. So there has at least been some fighting for us.

BG918
05-28-2010, 07:39 PM
Me too. I've never minded taxing myself a bit for the good of the city/state

Same here, I don't mind paying a tax if I can see the direct benefits of it for our city/state.

Did we not vote on this a few years back and the people said no?

mugofbeer
05-28-2010, 08:59 PM
Originally Posted by mugofbeer
So who'se up for a $.05 gas tax increase?
--------------------------------------------
I'd go for it in a heartbeat. But, I'm most likely in the minority.

I wonder if it was presented as a state gas tax with 100% of the money going for more rebuilding, repaving and bridge replacement if they could sell it to most people. Obviously, there are some in this state who won't want to pay more even if it means dirt roads, but most people are pretty reasonable if it would be legal to earmark it the way I said.

OKCisOK4me
05-28-2010, 09:07 PM
I've said it before & I'll say it again. Put a gasoline tax on toilet paper. I know its got nothing to do with roads but I doubt anyone is gonna start using their left hand...

fuzzytoad
05-28-2010, 10:11 PM
is this the same ODOT that spent $7,500 setting up a twitter account?

Larry OKC
05-29-2010, 05:03 AM
Responses to various posts:


why canít get convince people that a small 5cent tax on a gallon of gas will do WONDERS for our roads?

If there was an ironclad lockbox guarantee that 100% of the funds would go for that, it might fly. Problem is we supposedly had a lockbox guarantee with the Education Lottery, and as the Legislature is want to do, they figured out a way to pick the lock.


I thought that a substantial portion of gas taxes ALREADY went to highways, but I guess thatís a misnomer?
Canít speak directly to the gas tax, but as you suggested the problem isnít that enough transportation related taxes arenít collected but to often the money gets diverted to other areas (legally of course). This was brought out during the gas tax campaign.


how does this influence your confidence in assurances by the mayor that the boulevard will be built by 2014? (It is still not funded) Keep in mind Core to Shore is designed around the addition of the boulevard.

Near zero confidence. His goal to get the Boulevard open is based on the assurances of ODOT and the Governor (who wonít even be around then) but they have promised to make funding their priority. Hard to do if you arenít in office any more.

From what I have read on it, the Boulevard was included in the original budgeted amount, but as cost escalated, they kept breaking the relocation project into different sub-projects and the Boulevard has been left out of the picture (to date). Not on ODOTís 8 year plan etc. Someone else correctly pointed out that the teardown of the old Crosstown is funded (we just donít have the replacement funded).

As far as ODOT making the 2012 deadline, there was a recent Oklahoman article that mentioned due to Federal funding issues, the relocation date may have to be pushed back. The relocated I-40 was supposed to have already been completed (earliest article date I found was 2008 @ $360M). Already 4 years behind that and the costs has essentially doubled to at least $657M ($557M + $100M for the teardown but not including the Boulevard).

From an ODOT document here was an early timeline (ďDepending on Funding AvailabilityĒ):
2002: Begin right of way acquisitions and relocations
2003: begin construction design plans and begin utility relocations
2004: Begin construction
2005-2007: Continue construction
2008-2009: Construct new Boulevard (this canít be done until the relocated is open and the old one torn down...about a year, so that would put the completion of the new I-40 in 2007)
2010: project completed


Not only are people driving less, they are driving more fuel efficient vehicles, which means they are buying less gas.
One of the unintended consequences of Federal mandates for better fuel efficiency etc...


Some of the gas taxes from all the states (except maybe Oregon) go to a pool in Washington. This large pool of money is then divided back among the states based on some crazy equation. For a very long time... (forever AFAIK) Oklahoma has been a donor-state. This means that we were getting back LESS money from this large pool than what we put into it.

Well sort of. Oklahoma has a combined gas tax of 35.4 to 38.4 cents per gallon. The Federal portion (18.4 cents for gasoline & 24.4 cents for diesel) goes to the Feds and gets redistributed as you mentioned. The State portion (17 cents for gas & 14 cents for diesel), stays in the state and gets redirected to various and sundry entities.


And another fact about gas tax is that Oklahoma has the LOWEST gas tax in the country.
Oklahoma is near the lowest, but there are 4 states that are lower: South Carolina (16.8), New Jersey (14.5), Wyoming (14.0) & Alaska (8.0)


Did we not vote on this a few years back and the people said no?
That is correct, it was State Question 723 and would have made it essentially a permanent tax increase (would have been part of the State Constitution). Was on the ballot in 2005 and defeated (77.2% against, 12.8% for). One of the main reasons given for its defeat was due to the fact gas prices were on the rise (approaching the $2 mark).



It was suggested that we need a miles driven tax (this is also being suggested at the Federal level). In essence we already have a miles driven tax. it is the gasoline tax. Depending on your MPG, the rate everyone pays varies. Now if they were going to go over to a strictly a miles driven tax that replaced the gas tax, that would be one thing. But as we all know, once government gets their hand in your pocket, it is very difficult to get them to take it back out. What will end up happening, is we will have 2 federal taxes (both pockets) and most likely the state will want their "fair share" too and you will end up with a total of 4 taxes on each gallon of gas (instead of the 2 we have now).

Leading up the the gas tax vote, the Oklahoman opined that we have been getting of cheap in this country for a long time. They used Europe and particularly England as an example. In a lengthy, continued article, they let it slip in the next to the last paragraph the reason for England's high cost. Both the U.S and England paid the same $2 a gallon for gas. The reason for England's high price at the pump? Wait for it
.
.
.
.
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75% of their $8/gallon equivalent was in taxes.