Sign the petition opposing ODOT's proposal to bypass Muskogee on US69!
Prior to 2018, ODOT included a project to finish widening US69 that it started more than a decade ago. In 2016, ODOT commissioned an engineering firm to conduct a traffic study to determine if completing the former widening project on US69 would satisfy the traffic requirements for the future. And that study found exactly that if the US69 widening project were completed as planned with some minor modifications it would satisfy all traffic requirements up to 2040. But, in 2017, a new grant program called INFRA" was announced, providing 1.5 billion dollars in new funding. The INFRA act required highways to meet certain requirements, and ODOT quickly bought and paid for a new study done by an out of state firm, and designated US69 as a "Critical Rural Freight Corridor" making it eligible for grants under INFRA. It then changed the previous widening project in the 2017 plan, and substituted a new 100 million dollar bypass plan in its place, and began a new INFRA application to pay for it.
It's all about the money. ODOT will publicy state it's about the accident rate and traffic congestion, but using the same data as ODOT, another study showed US69 is safer than most other highways in Oklahoma, and if the prior widening project were to be completed, it would resolve any traffic flow issues until at least 2040. According to minutes of an internal meeting at ODOT held in February of 2018, ODOT is applying for an INFRA grant to fund the project. That leaves the only reason ODOT wants the bypass is because they think they can get an INFRA grant to pay for it, so instead of a 20 million widening project, they can get taxpayers to fund a 100 million dollar unneeded project instead.
What's in it for ODOT? They get a percentage of the total project cost as administrative costs to design and build the bypass they can use to fund their agency-likely millions of dollars or more. And that's a very big incentive to propose a project that is unneeded and a waste of money.
Don't let ODOT waste our tax dollars. Let the US Department of Transportation know it's a waste of money.
Contact the Department of Transportation and tell them that the bypass is unneeded, unwanted, and a waste of taxpayer dollars at INFRAgrants@dot.gov.
In 2016, ODOT commissioned an engineering firm to conduct a traffic study to determine if completing the former widening project on US69 would satisfy the traffic requirements for the future. And that study found exactly that if the US69 widening project were completed as planned with some minor modifications it would satisfy all traffic requirements up to 2040. But ODOT had already apparently decided that they wanted to build a bypass, so they completely ignored the study. No record of this study was found that indicated that the Highway Commissioners or public were ever made aware of the study in ODOT's records, and was only provided after a formal records request was made pursuant to the Open Records Act.
" Muskogee bypass" are two words not mentioned in ODOT's 8 year plan. Neither was the proposed bypass mentioned at the Transportation Commissioner's board meeting when the plan was approved. ODOT officials split the 100 million cost in half, with only half of the cost in the 8 year plan. ODOT then divided that half again over 3 parts to further minimize the appearance of the cost, and simply described the work as right of way, utility work, and typical road building language used throughout the plan, and presented it to the board. ODOT carefully avoided the term realignment or bypass until after the board approved the plan, and only then, without public comment, did ODOT post the 8 year plan and make public their plan to bypass Muskogee. ODOT's lack of transparency to the public and the board is shameful. You can decide for yourself by reading the plan below and the minutes of the board meeting at http://www.odot.org/tcomm/minutes17/tc_minutes-201710.pdf. Not a single word was spoken about spending 100 million dollars building a bypass around Muskogee. Can you figure out why?
Oppose ODOT's lack of transparency and sign the Petition at https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/stop-odot