State Contractors Say: Stimulate Oklahoma’s economy through road and bridge building
Published: January 11th, 2021
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Association of Oklahoma General Contractors (AOGC), an 85-year-old trade association which represents Oklahoma road and bridge builders, urged legislators to maintain the 2021 construction budget despite funding from the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020, to keep the construction work plan on target to provide state and local jobs. The group made its case in a Monday (January 11) press release.
The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020 provides a placeholder budget for transportation agencies nationwide. This funding helps provide relief from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by including provisions that help create jobs for Oklahomans currently.
Additionally, amid a decreased demand for oil and gas, Oklahoma families that rely on the industry are hurting and are dependent on other jobs to sustain an income. Because of the consistent need for improvements to Oklahoma’s transportation system and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) 8 Year Plan, roads and bridge construction personnel are in high demand.
The AOGC release continued, “As Oklahoma is the crossroads of America, our interstate system is used by Oklahomans, visitors and corporations moving goods and services through our state which establishes a higher demand for these workers to help create safe and reliable roads and bridges.
“Transportation is the most used core function of Oklahoma’s State government and is in constant demand and in need of repair and improvements. It provides jobs, puts money into our economy and provides an opportunity for our state. With the existence of the 8 Year Plan, ODOT has the only, long-term, accountable, transparent financial plan in state government. This plan outlines how much money is spent in each county, every year, over an eight-year period. The projects in this plan are based on the safety of the traveling public.”
“Thank you to our legislators for making the construction work plan a priority and a special thank you to Senator Inhofe for the additional work on behalf of ODOT,” AOGC Executive Director Bobby Stem said. “Both of these moves will help not only keep the construction work plan on target but will also accelerate jobs.”
(AOGC website: https://www.webuildoklahoma.com/)
While Oklahomans will benefit significantly from the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020, it does not solve the lingering need for funds to ensure the implementation of the 8 Year Plan. “Last year the Oklahoma legislature took more than 30% of the ODOT construction budget to balance the budget. They have, and need to remain, committed to replacing those dollars in this session.
“Oklahoma depends on strong roads and bridges to help stimulate our economy through jobs, and to keep motorists safe. We look forward to working with the leadership of Senator Pro Tempore Treat and Speaker McCall, along with all state legislators, this session to ensure state funding is not cut.”
About The Association of Oklahoma General Contractors: The Association of Oklahoma General Contractors is a statewide organization promoting transportation through the state members including service providers and contractors who work together for the advancement of Oklahoma’s economy through transportation projects. For more information, visit WeBuildOklahoma.com .