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.