With less than two weeks remaining in the legislative session and still no budget agreement, the State Transportation Commission decided this week to put the hold on new construction projects.
“Suspending current highway construction due to a proposed reduction in state funding is not something ODOT has ever been faced with,but we are preparing for it now,” said Mike Patterson, Executive Director of the agency. “Without a reliable stream of revenue coming in, it wouldn’t be fiscally responsible to keep incurring construction expenses that we have an obligation to pay.”
He also made it clear that issuing new bonds to offset budget cuts is not a fiscally viable option as in previous years. The DOT has more than $485 million in outstanding bond debt, which costs about $57 million a year in debt service.
The Transportation Commission also took the move to defer awarding of new highway construction contracts for the month of May and gave approval only to contracts financed with federal and county money.
Some of the deferred projects include the bridge work on Shields Boulevard over I-35 in Moore and I-35 over US-77