Supreme Court Green Lights $500 million Bond for Oklahoma Turnpike Project Despite Protests

KOKH - August 2, 2023 6:35 am

The ACCESS Oklahoma Turnpike project is moving full steam ahead.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority in the approval of bonds to build several new turnpikes.

OTA requested the Supreme Court approve the $500 million worth of bonds. Several people protested the approval, saying the OTA did not have the legislative authority to construct the new turnpikes.

Among the new turnpikes, two would directly impact Norman and Cleveland County: the East-West Connector, going along Indian Hills Road from I-44 to the new Kickapoo turnpike, and the South Extension, which would run north to south from Indian Hills to Purcell.

A number of lawsuits from people living there have come about since the announcement of the project last year.

On April 14, 2023, the OTA stopped all work on ACCESS Oklahoma because of legal challenges at the Supreme Court.

This new ruling will likely lead to work beginning again on the project, since revenue bonds could be secured to help pay for the construction.

In Tuesday’s ruling, the Supreme Court opinion noted, “the OTA has properly exercised its authority to determine the route” for the new turnpikes and approved the revenue bonds.

The OTA also had a court win in late May, when the Oklahoma Supreme Court found the OTA and its board did not violate the Open Meetings Act when they announced the project in January 2022.

A petition for rehearing must now be filed within 20 days.

 

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