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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Visits Tulsa

Matt Trotter

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx toured recently completed highway projects Thursday in Tulsa.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation held a news conference near a stretch of I-44 near Highway 75 that needs work.

"Because of its functional obsolescence — it's narrow with no shoulders, it has high accident rates, so we have real safety concerns," said ODOT Director Mike Patterson. "There are structurally deficient bridges within this section of the interstate that will be addressed."

Foxx said those sorts of improvements are vital.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that if you got those lanes widened, you got those jobs done, that you would see more commerce happening right here in Oklahoma, and we would see more commerce all around the country," Foxx said.

The state and the federal government are in similar situations — transportation projects are needed but funding is short. The state has a roughly $8 billion backlog of highway and bridge projects. Congress has passed only short-term solutions for federal transportation funding.

Foxx and Sen. Jim Inhofe are working on a long-term solution for federal funding problems.