The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has received $154 million from the federal coronavirus relief package passed in December.
State Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz plans to put a portion of that into the agency’s asset preservation fund. He said the timing of a cash infusion for road repairs couldn’t be better.
"I can’t emphasize enough the impact that two weeks of subfreezing weather conditions are going to have on our pavement structures for the springtime," Gatz told the Oklahoma Transportation Commission last week.
The Tulsa and Oklahoma City metro areas will also receive allocations from O-DOT’s funds.
"We are providing some revenues to our transit providers. We are also working with the county commissioners, and we’re going to try to allow them to share in some of those COVID relief dollars," Gatz said.
The rest of the relief funding will go toward ODOT's eight-year construction plan.
The $900 billion COVID relief package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump in January included $10 billion for state departments of transportation.
ODOT’s fiscal year 2022 state budget is still a concern for Gatz, however, with $180 million in road and bridge funding set to be diverted for a second straight year to close gaps in other areas. Gatz said the agency is talking to lawmakers about how to make that up.
"That could come in the form of responsible bonding or maybe even a TIFIA loan as we’ve discussed some from the federal government, but there are other options that will be discussed," Gatz said.
TIFIA stands for Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. The state received a $120.6 million loan from the program last year for the Gilcrease Expressway project in west Tulsa.