The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

18 November 2002

A bridge too fallible

When The Road Information Program announced in May that Oklahoma had the worst bridges in the country, almost none of us were surprised; while only one bridge in the state (I-44 at 51st in Tulsa) made the Bottom 100 list, fully a third of the state's bridges are considered "structurally deficient," and another 7 percent are "functionally obsolete."

Bringing all these bridges up to spec would cost about $5.4 billion, which of course we don't have. Senator Jim Inhofe is chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which means that he may be able to scare up a few more dollars in federal highway funds. In an unexpected move, Robert Milacek, a Republican state senator from Enid, has proposed a state vote on an increase in fuel taxes to pay for improvements. The alternative? Perhaps federal "wheel stamps," to help pay for auto suspension parts broken while trying to traverse these battered old bridges.

Posted at 7:09 AM to Soonerland