Governor signs legislation to focus on improvement of state’s ports



Governor Kevin Stitt signed a measure into law this week aimed at putting more focus on Oklahoma Ports along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.

Specifically, Senate Bill 1429, authored by Sen. John Haste, R-Broken Arrow, redesignates the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System Infrastructure Revolving Fund to the Oklahoma Ports Infrastructure Revolving Fund (OPIRF) and significantly expands its scope and purpose.

“The passage of SB 1429 is a significant step forward for Oklahoma’s waterway ports and infrastructure,” Haste said.

“This bill not only broadens the scope of the fund to encompass all infrastructure projects related to our state’s ports but also ensures that we have the necessary resources and partnerships to maintain and enhance these vital economic assets.”

Under SB 1429, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) is tasked with reviewing and approving expenditures from the OPIRF, ensuring that projects are thoroughly vetted and provide a public benefit. Projects must also be developed in coordination with the United States Army Corps of Engineers or all Indian tribes with an ownership interest in the riverbed of the Arkansas River when necessary, fostering collaboration and leveraging expertise.

“With this legislation, we are ensuring that our infrastructure remains robust and capable of supporting continued economic growth and development,” Haste said. “I am grateful for the support of my colleagues and the governor in recognizing the importance of this initiative.”

Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, carried the measure in the House.

“The responsibility for our waterway infrastructure is vital in ensuring the health of Oklahoma’s transportation options remains strong, and the expansion of the Oklahoma Ports Infrastructure Revolving Fund is important to accomplishing that mission,” Miller said. “I appreciate the work of Senator Haste on Senate Bill 1429 and I’m very pleased the governor signed this measure.”

SB 1429 will go into effect January 1, 2025.