By State Rep. Carl Newton

I’m going to take a little different track this week. Instead of news from the Capitol, I’m going to share some information I recently received from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) relating to the cost of building and repairing our roads.

Did you know, for instance, that it costs $5 million per mile to make a two-lane road into a four-lane road?

The cost to transform a two-lane road into what is known as a “Super two,” which means a two-lane road with a wider shoulder – 8-foot shoulder and 10 to 12 feet of right of way – is $1.5 million to $2 million per mile.

To just do an asphalt overlay to thicken the road costs $100,000 per mile for each inch of asphalt. Most overlays are at least 1.5 inches thick, so that costs $150,000 per mile.

To do what is known as a chip and seal – where tar is sprayed and then covered with gravel – costs $25,000 per mile.

As you can see, the cost of building, repairing and maintaining our roads is expensive. To determine how many projects can be accomplished each year, ODOT must first determine how much money they will receive from both the state and the federal government.

For Fiscal Year 2020, which we are currently in, ODOT’s state aid amount was estimated to be $333.52 million and federal aid $371.94 million. The federal amount includes a 7.5% projection overstatement just to buffer the department should there be any future loss of federal funds. The state aid amount for construction work plan projects is estimated to grow to over $402.58 million during the next eight years. The federal amount will vary based on Congress’ annual budgeting process.

Once ODOT knows how much money it has to work with, it then applies the following formula to establish a baseline fiscal year projection for each field division throughout the state:

Percent of population + percent of mainline highway system miles + percent of previous 15-year construction program / three.

This formula considers common demographic, physical and historical criteria and what determines the funds each division of ODOT receives for their area.

Transportation, of course, is just one core service of government, but here in NW Oklahoma, our roads and bridges are our lifeline. I hope this helps you understand what it cost to make road improvements.

Remember, you can always reach me at 405-557-7339 or carl.newton@okhouse.gov. Thanks for allowing me to serve you. May God Bless You and Oklahoma!!!!

Carl Newton represents District 58 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives

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