ODOT Still Concerned With Federal Funds Reimbursement

Dec 10, 2013

Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials said Monday they are still concerned with federal highway funding and how it will affect ongoing and future projects in the state.

ODOT Director Mike Patterson said in November that the agency is going be more conservative in issuing new projects because of these uncertainties in federal funding. 

A new exit opens Friday afternoon providing better access to and from downtown Oklahoma CIty.
Credit Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Patterson told transportation commissioners then that budget battles in Congress and the government shutdown could have an effect in the issuing of lettings in the state. He told commissioners ODOT staff will work toward creating a plan in the next coming weeks on how the department plans to handle lettings into 2014.

“It will not behoove us to put projects out on the streets if the cash balance does not improve,” Patterson said Monday. “Right now, there is not enough cash revenue to support what the budget allows.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration has remained quiet regarding the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which reimburses ODOT for eligible projects.

Since 2008, the cash balance in the trust fund has been on the decline. As of September of this year, the trust fund hit a record-low of $3.7 billion.

“That is down significantly from the beginning of the year and it’s on a declining balance,” Patterson said. “The Federal Highway Administration put a threshold or trigger mechanism in place back in 2008 where all the bells and whistles would go off if the trust fund ever went below $4 billion. Here we are at $3.7 billion on a declining balance and we have not heard anything.”

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