Thursday, May 12, 2022

State Sen. Boren requests audit of Oklahoma Turnpike Authority

Boren requests audit of Oklahoma Turnpike Authority

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Mary Boren has authored and filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 28 directing the State Auditor to audit the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA). This comes after recent news reports that the OTA is moving forward with plans to begin work on a controversial toll road expansion, including purchasing properties, after learning a $200 million line of credit cannot be used for the project because of pending lawsuits.

The OTA plans to use its general funds to replace the line of credit it intended to use for the turnpikes in the Norman area, but were successfully halted on May 4 by lawyers for landowners who filed objections with the Oklahoma Bond Council and filed a lawsuit in Cleveland County.

“The language of SCR 28 is like my previously filed SCR 25 and demands a moratorium on the building of new turnpikes. But given OTA’s decision to proceed with plans to keep buying properties for disputed projects, SCR 28 adds new language for the State Auditor to review ODOT’s and OTA’s financial documents for the purchase of homes and property for right-of-way access,” Boren said. “By reviewing these documents, Oklahomans will have a better understanding of how state and federal tax dollars, along with bond dollars, are being used to purchase property. This review of financial documents will also make sure everyone is getting the same favorable terms when negotiating with the state.”

Boren has voiced her strong opposition in recent months to two proposed projects in her district.

“It’s important that we demand accountability and transparency of our agencies, like the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority that is proposing to spend billions of dollars over the next several years on projects that would displace hundreds of homes and businesses,” Boren said. “Before we start making plans to build new turnpikes, we need to figure out how to pay off what we already have and make sure every homeowner is empowered to negotiate for the best terms possible, even if they are not wealthy and well-connected.”

The Norman Democrat said she is actively seeking bipartisan support for SCR 28 to be heard before the 2022 session adjourns this month.


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