Oklahoma Turnpikes: Who's Profiting?

Oklahoma Turnpikes: Who's Profiting?

There are 157 comments on the Oklahoma Impact Team story from Jul 19, 2010, titled Oklahoma Turnpikes: Who's Profiting?. In it, Oklahoma Impact Team reports that:

What started out as one toll road connecting Oklahoma City and Tulsa has turned into a multi-billion dollar web of turnpikes across the state.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Oklahoma Impact Team.


Birmingham, AL

#43 Jul 20, 2010
Sarcastro wrote:
<quoted text>
I will loan you the turnpike fare to get your complaining **** out of state.
I'll chip in with you!
didnt they say

Tulsa, OK

#44 Jul 20, 2010
that our Governor has the final word? so he actually has been keeping the turnpikes open? what gets me is these "investors" get 60 mil a year?? shouldn't that be Oklahoma's money? something ain't right, wish I a crook so I could get my hand in that piggy bank.

“Hillary, thirty years of lying”

Since: Nov 08


#45 Jul 20, 2010
my2cents wrote:
<quoted text>
The OTA actually does pay for all of the equipment fuel and Troopers salaries, sadly the state of Oklahoma could never afford to pay the Troopers to patrol the turnpikes or the maintenance workers it takes to maintain the turnpikes I don't know what the answer is, but I just don't see a day when the state could pay the huge expense it takes to keep those roads operating
One of the answers is for the legislature to quit paying for pork and start paying for results........if the public does not hold its government accountable, they will do exactly what they want as they have been.

Tulsa, OK

#46 Jul 20, 2010
It's crazy, we went from Sapulpa to Coweta on the turnpike because we thought it would be faster. We paid $.75 at the first toll, then near Broken Arrow another $.75, then at Coweta it was $1.00,$2.50 from Sapulpa to Coweta? That's a gallon of gas! We'll take the back road from now on. It wasn't even that much faster.

Broken Arrow, OK

#47 Jul 20, 2010
I'm sorry, but I've driven the Turner back and forth to OKC hundreds of times over past 6-7 years. I also routinely drive from Tulsa to Vinita on it a dozen or more times a year. The condition of the road is ALWAYS superior to the state highways. Yes, the tend to have contruction to repair the road for 10 miles here or there, but OVERALL the road is better maintained. If you even try to argue that you'd be crazy, and at least it gets attention from maintenance crews whenit needs it, not 2 years down the road.

In any case, the tolls should have paid for the road a long time ago, and a lower toll should be put in its place to cover annual maintenance. The OTA should be a division of the state entitity, not an independent organization with no oversight. If the state roads had a small fare per vehicle, the condition of the highways would be in better shape as well. Say .10 per car.
Fed Up Taxpayer

Tulsa, OK

#48 Jul 20, 2010
I "DO NOT" and "WILL NOT" drive turnpikes. I "REFUSE" to feed the greedy "thieves". I love driving the backroads and taking in Oklahoma's beauty. Driving through all the charming small towns is an adventure. You never know what you may come across (a great cafe, cool antiques, etc...) Leave early......Take time to smell the roses. Enjoy "backroads Oklahoma".

“THUNDER season ticket member”

Since: Jul 08

Location hidden

#49 Jul 20, 2010
Hope wrote:
Can you cite one example of a toll road becoming free anywhere in the nation?
Here you go:

The article above proves it's possible for all turnpikes in Oklahoma to be free. But like a previous poster said, it's all up to the Governor.

The main issue stems from when voters in 1954 approved to 'cross-pledge' the turnpike system. Source: http://pikepass.com/ (point to 'About the Authority', click 'FAQ', then click 'Why is the Turner Turnpike not free?'

This put and kept the OTA in business by putting all toll monies into one pot instead of keeping each toll road collection separate. Had the voters back not then approved this, then the Turner Turnpike and many other toll roads would've been free many years ago.

What company wants to purposefully put themselves out of business? The only way this will end is for us to stand up and fight the system. I've sent several letters to Gov. Henry on this issue. And thanks to Channel 6 and the Oklahoma Impact Team for finally shedding some light on where the money goes.

Last night's story outraged me. The state of Oklahoma is not making any money on these roads - just the OTA and bondholders are. And I can't believe there are 25 more turnpike roads proposed for the future! That right there tells me the OTA will never go away unless some reform is done.

And as for me, I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. I live in the Tulsa area and am also an OKC Thunder season ticket member. I use the Turner a lot during the season. I've tried to use other free routes, but takes much longer. After last night's story making me sick to my stomach, I will have to seriously think about what I'm going to do for this upcoming season. I may consider going to far less games instead of continuing to line the pockets of the OTA and bondholders just so I can get to the Ford Center faster.

Tulsa, OK

#51 Jul 20, 2010
During 2008 I was traveling between vinita and tulsa a lot and noticed some construction about a mile long, moving a mile or so down the turnpike every few days.

After a while I kind of paid attention a few times and saw what they were doing. They had this big machine that straddled the jersey barrier and resurfaced it while another guy went behind the machine with a power-washer.(with 2 or 3 other guys "supervising")

Yes they had sections of the road closed down to one lane over a whole year to make the barrier pretty. Was the president visiting?

Inola, OK

#52 Jul 20, 2010
The Turner Turnpike was supossed to be free after the tolls collected paid for all the efforts. My family years ago sold them a lot of land between Tulsa and Stroud. They were lied too and if they would have known that their Great Grandkids were paying high fees to drive on it then I'm sure they would have not sold it or demanded a higher price. They sold it cheap because they were convined (thru "officials") that they were saleing it at low prices for the better "good" of Oklahoma. My Great Grandma's name was Leela Turner.

lies lies lies.

Inola, OK

#53 Jul 20, 2010
btw I went from Tulsa through Joplin in my car just last week and it was $4.00 each way. Oh and that construction up by Vinita seems like it's been going on in the same spto for 3 years now.

Tulsa, OK

#54 Jul 20, 2010
I was just up by vinita again recently and saw some "legitimate" looking construction going on, the stuff I saw in 2008 was just barrier cleaning. I made a point back then to look every time because as soon as I thought I had it figured out I was in disbelief they would do that so I had to verify each time "wait surely I'm not right about what they're doing, oh look, I guess I am."

New York, NY

#55 Jul 20, 2010
Again the citizens know the truth, know this is nothing more than yjrft yet apathy takes a front seat as the citizenz merely say....oh well.
How disgusting!!!

Gilbert, AZ

#56 Jul 20, 2010
Hope wrote:
Can you cite one example of a toll road becoming free anywhere in the nation?
I-30 between Dallas and Ft. Worth. Was the old DFW Turnpike.
Rip Off

Tulsa, OK

#57 Jul 20, 2010
The turnpike has been a sham over many decades and continues to dupe the Oklahoma people. It's not surprising that we are ranked as high as we are in the country. You can't travel but 2 major roads in the state - I35 and I40 without paying out the "blank". The other sad thing is the lack of decent reststops like Kansas and every other state has ....that don't charge tolls. At least for the money they could build a few "tru" rest stops that arent after our money.

Austin, TX

#58 Jul 20, 2010
Great...put the elected officials in charge. They will keep the tolls in place, let the roads crumble and divert the toll revenue to other programs. Sound familiar? That's how our elected officials have operated the tax funded road system over the last 40 years. A system that is collapsing around us. It's time for an internal reality check.
Shirley Smith

Broken Arrow, OK

#59 Jul 20, 2010
On the comment from "Ben" on the well maintained turnpikes in Oklahoma. Evendently he has never been out of the state of Oklahoma. Try going through Tennessee and Georgia. Wonderful roads and you don't have to pay to drive on them. Even their little back roads are paved and street signed. WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING IN OKLAHOMA?
hate turnpikes

Tulsa, OK

#60 Jul 20, 2010
What's really bad is that the roads in the panhandle are more smooth than our turnpikes. There are no turnpikes in the panhandle. You can always tell when you get back to Oklahoma from another state because our roads are crap. I've been sick of paying turnpike fees for years, therefore, I quit driving on them. We need better leaders in our state

Tulsa, OK

#61 Jul 20, 2010
You have got to be kidding.....this state has and continues to have some of the worst roads in the US with higer percentage of taxes. The toll roads originally were never indended to last this long and the OK turnpike authority is full of beans when they say that continued money is needed for repairs. We pay more in state taxes that most and have the worst roads. Also all construction projects need to be evaluated....if they would take all their crews and work on two or three places at once it would look like something was being done daily. Progress as promissed ( **** ) start one thing then finish it....stop putting toll roads up everywhere and increasing them and finish one of the 100 road construction projects you have going BEFORE you start more....I think everyone should be sending in their car repair bills to the city and state for damage to their tires, front end and other things....sorry I have lived here 45 years and it the way this state is run needs to be looked at.......

Tulsa, OK

#62 Jul 20, 2010
So rather than raise taxes to build roads, the state borrows money in the form of bonds. The roads they build are toll roads, and the tolls pay back the borrowed money plus interest. I'm sorry, I don't see the problem here.

The toll is an optional tax. If you don't want to pay for the road, take another route.

And the turnpike authority raised tolls during the downturn, so what? If the authority is obligated by the terms of the bond to meet certain financial requirements, and the only way to meet those requirements was to raise tolls, I would say that they acted responsibly.

And to Sen. Brogden saying the legislature should be the one raising the tolls instead of the OTA, I say that I have serious doubts the legislature would EVER vote to raise the tolls, no matter how necessary it may be. I'm far less worried about the OTA defaulting on the bond covenants than I would be if the spineless and craven state legislators that infest our capitol placed themselves in the position of stewardship over the bond covenants.

United States

#63 Jul 20, 2010
srj5783 wrote:
If Oklahoma is not making any money off the Turnpikes then I think the Oklahoma Highway Patrol needs to quit patroling it unless the Owners are going to pay them. If we do not own them its not fair that Oklahomans pay the Troopers to patrol. Let the Owners pay for it. You see more O.H.P. on the turnpikes then you do any where else. Let the Troopers start patroling the state owned roads.
The OTA pays for every trooper that patrols the turnpikes. Maybe you need to do a little research before you open your uneducated mind. Not only does the OTA pay for those troopers, those troopers are available on the other "free" roads as well in case of an emergency.

And one other little bit of information. When a trooper writes a ticket while on the turnpike, the revenue from that ticket goes to the county in which the ticket was written, not to the OTA.

And at least the turnpikes pay for their own maintenance and rehab, unlike many of the cities and states who are now in the middle of spending BILLIONS on road construction / rehab with money that our children will be in debt for their whole lives thanks to the Obama money printing machine. So many people want good roads to drive on, yet do not want to pay for them. If you don't like the turnpikes, don't drive on them. It's really that simple. Then see how well your "free" road holds up in the long run...

As for me, I think that letting the people that use the roads pay for them makes much more sense than my taxes paying for a road I will never use.

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