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Oklahoma secretary of transportation tempers expectations for funding boost from bipartisan infrastructure deal

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Oklahoma Department of Transportation
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Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz set the record straight Monday on how much federal funding the state can expect from the $1 trillion infrastructure deal signed by President Joe Biden last month.

Gatz explained what to expect to state transportation commissioners at their regular meeting.

"Oklahoma did not receive an additional $5 billion in new money as a result. What the bill did was it took our highway reauthorization and rolled it up into that Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act," Gatz said.

Gatz said the five-year highway reauthorization included in the infrastructure deal does include about $1 billion in new federal funding for the state over what it has been receiving and comes close to projected federal spending in the state’s latest eight-year construction plan. However, not all of that new money will be directly available for road and bridge projects.

About $225 million of that new money will be directed to new spending categories.

"One is called carbon reduction, and one is called resilient operations — that's an abbreviation, it's a long title — but we don't have a lot of information about what will be involved in those programs, and there will be plenty of guidance and policy that will be forthcoming," Gatz said.

Gatz said he will be watching to see how Congress reconciles the provisions of the infrastructure deal’s transportation reauthorization with a recently passed continuing resolution based on the previous highway spending bill.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes funding for a broad range of things, including broadband, airports, transit and water lines.

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.