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Oklahoma Department Of Transportation Expecting $150M From Latest COVID Relief Package


The Oklahoma Department of Transportation expects a $150 million dollar boost from the $900 billion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump last month.

The legislation included $10 billion for state departments of transportation. Exact allocations will be determined later this month. ODOT Executive Director and State Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz wants to use Oklahoma's to offset increased spending on winter storm response and spend the money on projects.

"Try to prop up our asset preservation program a little bit with maybe some of the corona relief dollars, and we will also make sure that we go back into the eight-year construction work plan and find projects that are ready to go there and accelerate those projects forward," Gatz told the state transportation commission last week.

The relief funds can be spent on a wide range of expenses and are available until Sept. 30, 2024.

The appropriations bill the latest coronavirus relief package was rolled into also reauthorized the federal water resources program.

"It also will help the [U.S. Army] Corps of Engineers here in Oklahoma access assistance to repair and restore commerce on waterways faster after disasters like the 2019 floods that we experienced that were especially hard-hit in the Tulsa area and also on the navigation system," Gatz said.

Tulsa’s levee system needs both immediate repairs and $150 million to $200 million in new construction. Dredging and repair of the navigation system is underway but is expected to take several years in all.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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