Feds to fund Salt Fork River improvements as part of administration’s climate change fight



Oklahoma is among the 37 states receiving millions of dollars in the Biden administration’s latest pouring of federal funds into improvements to the country’s infrastructure and doing so in the name of fighting the harmful impacts of climate change.

In all, the U.S. Transportation Department announced Thursday the awarding of $830 million in grants to finance 80 projects.

Only one is in Oklahoma. A grant of $1,334,420 was awarded to the Northern Oklahoma Development Authority for construction of barriers along the shoreline by the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River in Grant County where Medford is the county seat.The announcement indicated the river is threatening to undermine the Red Hill and Trenton roads and bridges.

The Transportation Department stated the project will strengthen and protect an important evacuation route and is focused on safeguarding critical county highways from the imminent threat of erosion.

The funds come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021 and add to other funding already flowing to states for similar projects, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“We have seen far too many examples of transportation infrastructure being shut down or damaged by extreme weather, which is more extreme and more frequent in this time of climate change,” Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in a call with reporters ahead of the announcement.

“America’s infrastructure was not built for the climate that we have today, and the consequences of this are very real and being felt by people in every part of the country.”

Kansas received no grants for bridge and highway improvements. Texas was named in nearly $26 million in projects, the largest being nearly $14 million to the city of San Marcos to complete a stormwater mitigration project in a low-income and underserved neighborhood.

Arkansas was awarded more than $16 million for the City of West Memphis to restore hundreds of acres floodplain in a move to protect I-40 and I-55 and two freight rail lines from flooding of the Mississippi River.

Nearly $39 million in grants were awarded to Colorado including $23.8 million to the City of Golden to control flooding in Lenga Gulch which runs along US 40.