Bill Repairing Rural Roads Damaged By Energy Industry Garners Unanimous House Support
Beverly Cantrell - March 8, 2022 9:07 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY –
Rural communities could soon see repairs to roads damaged by the oil and gas industry following a bill with bi-partisan support making it’s way through the state capitol.
“For some of the smaller communities, it’s kind of a love-hate relationship,” Rep. Brad Boles, R Marlow, said.
“We are pro oil and gas in Oklahoma,” Mike Fina with the Oklahoma Municipal League said. “We’re not upset with the companies. It’s just when that large of equipment, heavy equipment, comes over municipal roads it’s going to damage them.”
The Oklahoma House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to put communities of less than 15 thousand population in the drivers’ seat when it comes to road repairs , setting aside $5 million for damages caused by the oil and gas industry.
They would have to apply for this grant program and ODOT would be managing the program, but the community to also have to be willing to put 25% of matching funds,” Boles said.
The Oklahoma Municipal league said the collaboration between communities, the energy industry and state couldn’t come at a better time.
“The situation with Ukraine and Russia it’s actually going to increase production here locally because when the price of barrel of oil gets over $100 you see a lot more activity,” Fina said.
Boles said the energy industry’s gross production taxes are paid to the state, counties, and schools — but not cities. He said this pot of money from the state’s general revenue fund would add them to the mix.
“This industry gives over $1 billion to our state budget, so giving $5 million back to this program to help some of the smaller communities, I think is a definitely reasonable approach,” Boles said.
The bill will now head across the building, eligible to be heard in a senate committee.