The Oklahoma Authority is perpetually building and expanding it's network of "for pay" roads. The Authority is technically not a part of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, instead, it's a pseudo business run by a para-government monopoly.
This year the OTA announced some bold new projects and some fee increases on all current roads in their network. Read more at the Oklahoman.
Does the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ever step in and regulate this growing monster?
There are so many rumors and narratives of why we have a perpetual turnpike. But one truth is consistent;
"Temporary taxes are almost never ended."
“Engineers estimated traffic would pay for the highway in less than 21 years, ending the toll system.”
So why didn’t that happen?
“The drumbeat goes on. You know they broke their promise. Well, there wasn’t really a promise ever made and if it was broken, it was broken by the voters themselves,” said David Averill, former Tulsa World editor.
Averill explored the topic in a 1993 editorial titled “The Turnpike Myth That Never Dies.”
Two state questions on the ballot in 1954 allowed for cross funding; profits from the Turner Turnpike could be used to build three more turnpikes. The controversial issue ended up passing by 40,000 votes.
“If there ever had been a 'free road' promise, that went away when the voters themselves approved two state questions,” said Averill.
“Without fully informing the people, they had the people to vote to not do that. Oh, how about we use the money off the Turner to build another turnpike? And it’s been going on ever since,” said Gary Richardson.