INHOFE PRAISES AGREEMENT REACHED

SAFETEA-LU Conference Report Includes More Than $2.8 Billion for Oklahoma’s Highways and Bridges

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today praised the agreement reached by Senate and House conferees on the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act - A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The legislation has been filed in the House of Representatives and once passed will move to the Senate for consideration and approval.

“I’m very pleased with the agreement we have reached with House conferees, and am optimistic that SAFETEA-LU will pass quickly in both chambers and proceed to the President’s desk,” Senator Inhofe said. “As much as this is legislation that will significantly boost and enhance our nation’s transportation system, it is also a jobs bill that will create employment opportunities for millions of Americans. According to the Department of Transportation, every $1 billion of federal money invested in highway improvements creates more than 47,500 jobs. That $1 billion also yields $500 million in new orders for the manufacturing sector and $500 million spread throughout other sectors of the economy. A safe and effective transportation infrastructure will only help grow our economy, and I’m delighted we’re on the verge of delivering this important victory to Oklahomans and all Americans.

“This bill is historic for Oklahoma. I am extremely proud of the increase in funding the state will receive from this legislation. Under the formulas, our bill includes about 32 percent more funding over the previous highway authorization bill. As I’ve often said, one of my top priorities as Chairman of the EPW Committee has been to increase the rate of return for donor states such as Oklahoma. This highway bill increases Oklahoma’s formula rate of return to 92 cents per dollar in 2008.”

The Senate version of the highway bill passed by an 89 to 11 vote in May. Senator Inhofe managed its consideration on the Senate floor. The SAFETEA-LU conference report will now move to the House and Senate floors where it is expected to be passed prior to the August recess and signed by President Bush shortly after.

The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act - A Legacy for Users:

  • Provides $244 billion in guaranteed spending over the 2005-2009 period ($286.4 billion including 2004) for maintenance, and improvement of the nation’s roads, bridges, mass transit, and safety that creates millions of job opportunities across the country.
  • Includes over 30 percent more funding over TEA-21 levels (current law).
  • Provides a rate of return phased in to 92 percent by 2008 for donor states.
  • Provides more than a 39 percent average annual increase over TEA-21 levels for Indian reservation roads and bridges, including new funding categories and increased flexibility, for which Oklahoma tribes are among the largest recipients.
  • Consolidates existing safety programs into a new core Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) to provide increased funding and greater flexibility to states. The HSIP is designed to meet the growing safety needs and fatality and injury rates in each state through a strategic highway safety plan.
  • Senator Inhofe, working with Sen. Coburn (R-Okla.), restored Congress’ original intent by inserting language correcting ambiguous wording in past legislation that has been at issue surrounding the Oklahoma Loyal Shawnee tribe’s ability to place land into trust.
  • Provides more than $2.8 billion for the State of Oklahoma, including funding for a variety of important projects:
    • $220 million for improvements to Interstates 40 and 44
    • $50 million to improve bridges in the State
    • $50 million to improve bridges in the State
    • $35 million to widen and make improvements to the Ports-to-Plains Corridor
    • $10.8 million to widen Highway 60 between Ponca City and Bartlesville
    • $7 million for the University of Oklahoma to conduct research in global tracking methods for intermodal containerized freight
    • $2 million to complete and extend trails along Mingo Creek in Tulsa
    • $2.2 million to update traffic signals with LED illumination technology
    • $2 million for reconstruction of State Highway 20 in Owasso

    • $1 million for the control of outdoor advertising
    • $1.6 million for improving I-35 Interchange at Milepost 1 Near Thackerville
    • $6.4 million to widen SH-33 from the Cimarron River East to US-177

    • $2.4 million to reconstruct the I-44 193rd street interchange
    • $1.6 million to widen US-60 from approximately 2 miles east of the US-60 - US-75 interchange east approximately 5.5 miles
    • $800,000 to widen US-54 from North of Optima Northeast to Kansas State Line
    • $2.4 million for transportation enhancements for Hwy-19 from Ada to Stratford
    • $800,000 for improvements to Hereford Lane and US-69 Interchange

    • $1.6 million for construction of rail crossing in Claremore at Blue Star Drive and SH-66
    • $3.2 million to complete reconstruction of the I-35 - SH-9 West Interchange
    • $800,000 for Texanna Road Improvements around Lake Eufaula
    • $3.6 million for improvements to SH-412P at 412 interchange
    • $800,000 to construct vehicular bridge over the Burlington Northern Railroad at War Bonnnet Crossing, Manford
    • >$2.4 million for Construction of Duncan Bypass Grade Separation
    • $5 million for improvements to SH-3 from Antlers to Broken Bow
    • $16 million for reconstruction of the I-40 cross-town Expressway from I-44 to I-35 in downtown Oklahoma City
    • $8.8 million to construct and widen six lanes on I-44 from the Arkansas River extending east approximately 3.7 miles to Yale Avenue
    • $800,000 for the Navajo Gateway Improvements Project, US-62 in Altus
    • $800,000 to reconstruct the I-44 Fort Still Key Gate Interchange
    • $800,000 for the realignment of US-287 around Boise City