Congressman Cole Opposes Lower Returns for Oklahoma Tax Dollars
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole secured $14 million dollars for priority road/bridge projects in Oklahoma's Fourth Congressional District in the Transportation Equity Act (H.R. 3550), but voted no on final passage of the bill because of the negative impact the legislation would have on Oklahoma. If this bill were signed into law Oklahomans would receive a smaller percentage of the fuel taxes they pay to the federal government than under current law, meaning fewer funds to be used on state highway and road projects.
"This bill has good news and bad news for Oklahomans. The good news is that this bill helps meet the many infrastructure needs in Oklahoma's Fourth Congressional District by funding improvements to our roadways and bridges. The bad news is that although we would continue paying the same amount in gas taxes, we would receive a lower percentage of those dollars back from the federal government."
Congressman Cole voted for an amendment offered by Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) that would keep state funding percentage levels at their current level, providing Oklahoma with more than $260 million dollars more than the amount contained in the final bill. Because this amendment failed, Congressman Cole voted against final passage of the Highway Equity Act.
"I am pleased that I was able to secure funds for projects in the Fourth District in the final House version of the Highway Reauthorization legislation," Congressman Cole said. "My staff and I will be working to ensure that these projects remain in the Highway bill as well as working for additional improvements in roads for Oklahomans in the weeks ahead."
H.R. 3550, which authorizes federal highway, highway safety and transit programs for a six-year period, must now go before a House-Senate conference committee.
"I hope that during the conference committee between the House and the Senate, the conferees will be able to find a more equitable solution to allotting the highway funds while retaining the funds for priority projects in the Fourth Congressional District."
Congressman Cole secured the following funds in the Transportation Equity Act:
- $2 million for Norman grade separation at BNSF Railway
- $3 million for enhancements to Highway 19 from Ada to Stratford
- $1 million for pedestrian walkway in Midwest City
- $1 million for I-44/Ft. Sill Key Gate Interchange
- $3 million for interchange on Duncan Bypass
- $4 million for reconstruction of the I-35/SH 9 West Interchange