Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Gov. Fallin vetoes bill that would block US 69 bypass of Muskogee


Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a measure today designed to block construction of the proposed U.S. 69 bypass of Muskogee and allow local municipalities to have input on construction of bypasses that would affect their cities. SB 86, authored by State Sen. Kim David (R-Porter) and State Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee), and co-authored by Sen. Dewayne Pemberton (R-Muskogee), Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) and Rep. Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow), was widely supported by communities up and down the U.S. 69 corridor, Muskogee and Wagoner in particular.

Fallin's veto message reads as follows:
    This is to advise you that on this date, pursuant to the authority vested in me by Section 11 of Article VI of the Oklahoma Constitution to approve or object to legislation presented to me, I have VETOED Senate Bill 86.

    I am vetoeing SB 86 because this bill transfers the decision making on state transportation projects from the state Department of Transportation (ODOT) to local municipalities.

    Since the state began the ROADS program in 2005, it has been the practice of state leaders to allow the engineers and professionals at ODOT to make transportation project decisions based on sound data and not by political interference. The results of this practice have led to tremendous improvement in the condition of our transportation system evidenced by a reduction in structurally deficient bridges from 1,168 to 185. About 5,000 miles of pavement of the state's 13,250-mile system have been reconstructed or resurfaced. Additionally, 325 cable median barriers have been installed reducing horrific crossover accidents.

    However, it is important to hear and consider the concerns expressed by the community of Muskogee, and to that end, I am asking ODOT to consider all options in improving the U.S. 69 that has raised the concern of area citizens. Considering the opposition voiced by the community, it would be prudent to provide plenty of opportunity for input and to give consideration to the effects on municipal revenue collections and the overall economic impact on the community.

1 comments:

Dave Hefley said...

Just a comment about the proposed Muskogee by-pass. Living in the Eufaula area we travel to Tulsa frequently and most times go through Muskogee. I must say that it is a real drag when driving through Muskogee because of the traffic lights, the trucks blocking both lanes and the speed limit only 35 MPH for most of Muskogee. It sometimes takes up to 15 minutes to get through town. I can imagine with a by-pass at 65 miles an hour only taking 5 minutes.
Just think about the fuel savings alone that could be saved with a by-pass. Seldom do we stop and patronize the businesses in Muskogee when traveling through on Highway 69. We do go to Muskogee for some shopping but not when traveling to Tulsa or Kansas or Mo.
Muskogee could help themselves tremendously just by restricting trucks to the right lane and raising the speed limit. You have a 7 lane highway in one section that is only 35 MPH?
A by-pass would be a welcome addition to the many travelers that traverse 69 after all it is the only North / South highway in Eastern Oklahoma.
A by-pass would be money well spent!

Dave Hefley