Transportation Priorities

2022 Greater OKC Chamber Transportation Priorities

STATE ISSUES

Major Projects
The Chamber will advocate for full funding and timely completion of work on the following major interchanges/projects:

  • I-44/I-235 Interchange
  • I-240/I-35 (Crossroads Interchange)
  • I-35/I-44 (Remington Park)
  • I-44/I-40 (K Interchange/Near State Fairgrounds) West to MacArthur on I-40
  • Necessary improvements to I-40 corridor east of I-35 (Tinker Air Force Base) including expansion of I-40 facility to six lanes from Douglas Boulevard to Shawnee
  • I-35/I-40 Dallas Junction and I-35 (including Oklahoma River Bridges)
  • Future development of I-44 corridor from I-40 to SH-62, including SH 152/Airport Road, (southwest OKC to Newcastle) to better provide for future mobility needs due to ongoing commercial expansion

Regional Study
The Chamber supports the ODOT/OTA regional transportation study being undertaken with municipal partners with the objective of identifying, maximizing, preserving and protecting existing transportation assets. The Chamber further supports this study’s ultimate strategic goal to create additional transportation capacity as a means to protect and maximize the integrity of the entire regional transportation system.

State Turnpike Plan
The Chamber supports ongoing robust efforts to develop a highly effective and viable state turnpike system, including construction of new access points at appropriate locations to enhance safety and access.

The Chamber further supports turnpike planning consideration to include widening the Turner Turnpike, as an innovation corridor, to six lanes from the current construction at mile post 203 extending west to Oklahoma City.

The Chamber supports the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s (OTA) conversion to a cashless toll system that will serve to enhance safety, increase travel time reliability, allow passage of high/wide loads and generate economic development.

ODOT Eight-Year Plan
The Chamber supports providing adequate annual dedicated funding necessary to preserve and implement the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) eight-year construction work plan. Furthermore, the Chamber will strongly oppose any effort to divert dedicated transportation funding to other areas of government.

State Bridges
The Chamber supports providing adequate annual dedicated funding for ODOT to maintain continued investment toward addressing Oklahoma’s structurally deficient bridges on the state’s highway system, and further ensure that ODOT is able to maintain a nationally leading bridge improvement program.

Sustainable Funding
To address the declining transportation revenues associated with fuel tax the Chamber supports the research and development of sustainable and equitable funding alternatives in support of transportation infrastructure.

Infrastructure Tax
The Chamber opposes legislation to place disproportionate taxes or unnecessary regulations on infrastructure/materials/construction that would have a negative impact on Chamber-supported transportation projects and economic development.

Ports of Entry
The Chamber supports providing adequate annual dedicated funding and staffing levels for the timely completion and effective use of weigh stations at Oklahoma’s ports of entry to ensure the protection of Oklahoma’s roads and bridges from unnecessary damage caused by overweight freight loads.

State Transit Funding
The Chamber supports protecting state revenues allocated into the State of Oklahoma’s Public Transit Revolving Fund to meet citizen demand for public transit.

The Chamber supports the implementation of ODOT’s Long Range Transit Plan through the Office of Mobility and Public Transit.

Heartland Flyer
Passenger rail service is a key component of the continued viability of the Oklahoma City intermodal hub and the future development of commuter rail throughout the central Oklahoma region. The Chamber will work with the Oklahoma congressional delegation, the Oklahoma State Legislature, ODOT, the City of Oklahoma City, the Class 1 railroads and the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) to oppose efforts to reduce or eliminate state or federal funding received by Oklahoma to operate the Heartland Flyer Amtrak service to Fort Worth, Texas. Moreover, the Chamber supports ongoing efforts by ODOT to negotiate with the State of Texas and Amtrak to ensure Amtrak can be maintained as the passenger rail carrier.

The Chamber supports continued dialogue on extending the Heartland Flyer Amtrak service to Newton, Kansas, which would connect Oklahoma City to Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, and other locations on the Amtrak system. Furthermore, the Chamber supports designation of the Oklahoma City-Newton, KS line as a national Amtrak route. This would strategically address a significant gap in the national Amtrak rail system map and assist with Federal/State burden/cost-sharing to help ensure the viability of passenger rail.

Interstate Commerce
The Chamber opposes legislation to limit the ability of Class 1 and short line railroads to conduct interstate commerce.

The Chamber supports development of technology and effective transportation strategies to increase the safety and efficiency of interstate commerce. For example, the Chamber supports existing state law allowing for the platooning of semi-trucks.

Autonomous Vehicles
The Chamber supports creation of a regulatory environment that makes Oklahoma a leader in safely using autonomous vehicles and does so without restricting their deployment and further innovation.

ODOT Rail Plans

The Chamber supports implementation of the Oklahoma State Rail Plan and Oklahoma Freight Transportation Plan developed by ODOT.

Seat Belt Law to Protect Childhood Safety
The Chamber supports passage of a new state law to require those 8-17 years of age to wear seat belts while being transported in the back seat.

MUNICIPAL ISSUES

Oklahoma River Bridges
The Chamber supports construction of clear span bridges on Interstate 35 across the Oklahoma River. Replacing existing river bridges with iconic bridges would showcase Oklahoma City at the confluence of two major U.S. interstate highways (Interstates 35/40) and facilitate increased sporting events and tourism in the boathouse district.

Mass Transit/Commuter Rail
The Chamber supports implementation of transit programs that will best serve central Oklahoma including the Central Oklahoma Transit and Parking Authority (COTPA) 2005 Fixed Guideway Transit Study and its following component:

  • Commuter Corridors Study update being conducted on behalf of the RTA

The Chamber further supports efforts by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), consisting of six core central Oklahoma cities, to launch future regional transit services. The Chamber will work with the RTA, COTPA, municipal governments, ODOT and Class 1 railroads to conduct early-stage planning for introducing commuter rail service into downtown Oklahoma City from Norman and Edmond with alternative transportation options to Del City and Midwest City. Further planning consideration should be given to potential future expansion of rail service to the Shawnee and Yukon areas.

Intermodal Hub
The Chamber will work with the City of Oklahoma City (COTPA), the Class 1 railroads, ODOT, the Oklahoma State Legislature and ACOG to ensure the continued viability of the intermodal hub at the Santa Fe station that will effectively integrate various modes of transportation (including OKC Streetcar, Amtrak, bus, inter-city bus, future bus rapid transit and future commuter rail) and enhance economic development opportunities.

The Chamber supports efforts to work with stakeholders to maximize alignment and development of future locally preferred alternatives for mass transportation.

Street Improvements
The Chamber supports consideration and pursuit of all available funds for ongoing and future street improvements.

OKC Streetcar
The Chamber supports efforts to ensure the continued viability of the Oklahoma City Streetcar system.

Bus Service
The Chamber supports greater frequency, expanded routes and expanded service hours for bus routes. The Chamber further encourages regional dialogue on providing enhanced bus service.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
The Chamber supports implementing bus rapid transit on key routes in Oklahoma City tied to the 2005 Fixed Guideway Transit Study and updates to that study, and the implementation of future MAPS 4 route updates.

Parking
The Chamber supports continued construction of additional parking and viable park and ride locations, as appropriate on a case-by-case basis, to allow continued economic development downtown.

Alternative Transportation
The Chamber supports increased construction of sidewalks, trails and bike lanes. In addition, the Chamber supports proper implementation and consideration of bike shares, car shares, scooter shares and future technologies on a case-by-case basis.

FEDERAL ISSUES

Surface Transportation Funding
The Chamber ultimately supports adequate funding for a multi-year reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program, with continuation of a responsible formula allocation to the states.

The Chamber will work with the Oklahoma Congressional delegation and ODOT to secure a permanent funding solution for the Federal Highway Trust Fund (including mass transit programs).

The Chamber supports adequate funding levels to properly maintain the national transportation system.

Federal Capital Improvement Grants
The Chamber supports continued funding for SMALL STARTS, NEW STARTS, INFRA, RAISE, bus and bus facilities grants.

Mike Monroney Center (FAA)/Associated Federal Agencies
The Chamber supports the continued viability of the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center as a strategically important national asset for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and further supports the continuation of its other essential federal government activities in the state.

Clean Air Nonattainment
The Chamber will work with the Oklahoma congressional delegation, ODOT, ACOG, the City of Oklahoma City, the private sector, and additional partners to take necessary proactive steps to ensure the Greater Oklahoma City region is not designated as being in nonattainment of federal air quality standards.

National Air Quality Standards
Ground-level ozone concentrations in the OKC area have been high and the region runs a significant risk of violating federal air quality standards (National Ambient Air Quality Standards – NAAQS). Therefore, the Chamber supports maintaining NAAQS at their current level and will oppose any efforts to make them more stringent, which could result in severe negative economic impacts in our region.

Freight Rail Regulation
The Chamber opposes any effort by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to impose additional economic or operational regulation on freight rail operators.

For more information, please contact a member of our Government Relations staff.