NOTE: Welcome to a new feature for The Luther Register, a Citizen Voice page where Letters to the Editor will be shared, noting some ground rules. To find our more, visit this page.
I have attached a letter that was written almost 16 years ago to The Daily Oklahoman Letters to the Editor. I found it to be incredible in light of what is happening again in Eastern Oklahoma County 16 years after we were all told that a turnpike in our area was a dead issue. I think the insight of the author of the article was fascinating since he was able to see that at some point, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) would return and try to build a turnpike again! Well, as you can see, that has happened, the OTA is back and they are taking property and land from Oklahomans to build private industry. They will be trying to sell bonds pretty soon so they will have a line of credit to build something that over 5000 folks in Eastern Oklahoma County have said they do not want! By the way, all Oklahomans need to know that the bonds OTA sells to build turnpikes are considered open bonds and may be purchased by anyone…anyone; like China, Russia, and any other country. If you like seeing your state being sold out to private investors; if you like having your land taken away so that rich people get richer; if you like having your land taken for a road and then have to pay to drive on it then by all means, take no action. But if you don’t like any of that, you better start sounding off and you need to do it today! Write letters to your elected representatives, your Senators, your Governor to oppose this method of road building in our state! You may be moved to go to the Capitol and make a personal appearance to your elected Representative, but you need to act fast while they are still in session. Thanks for listening.
Daily Oklahoman – Letters to the Editor Friday, June 30, 2000
Outer loop not dead
TO THE EDITOR:
FROM JUNE 2000: The issue of the Oklahoma City eastern outer loop turnpike is not dead. In spite of all the grand proclamations and banner headlines of a year ago, in spite of all of the promises made by the state Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) and the Turnpike Authority (OTA) to the people of central Oklahoma; in spite of the resolutions passed by the cities of Norman, Choctaw, Jones and Arcadia; in spite of the resolutions passed by the Kickapoo, Absentee Shawnee and other Indian tribes; in spite of Transportation Secretary Neal McCaleb’s words last February, “the people of central Oklahoma have spoken, and we have listened”; in spite of promises made by legislators such as Harrah Rep. Mark Seikel, who declared at a citizens’ meeting held in Arcadia during February of last year that the Eastern Outer Loop “is D-E-D dead,” there are still those in our legislature intent on ram-rodding the boondoggle known as the eastern outer loop toll road down the throats of the citizens of central Oklahoma.
That the turnpike is not “dead” was evidenced by the mindless opposition to H.B. 2574 that was recently displayed by certain legislators in the House Transportation Committee. Few people have been informed that, in spite of last year’s promises, the OTA is still authorized by state law to build the toll road. H.B. 2574, a purely nonpartisan bill by Reps. Wallace‘ Collins and Danny Hilliard, would right that wrong. However, some legislators, for reasons known only to themselves, think that the promises of the past are meaningless. Dragging out the same old discredited arguments, they have set themselves in opposition to the citizens of central Oklahoma.
The argument that seems most popular to resurrect is that the eastern outer loop turnpike would relieve current and future traffic congestion in the Oklahoma City metro area. However, separate reports released by the I-35 Trade Corridor Study (sponsored by ODOT) and ACOG, looking ahead 20-25 years, prove this argument to be false. Our traffic congestion problems, both current and future, are not caused by cars and trucks passing through on their way to Amarillo, Fort Smith or Wichita. Our traffic congestion problems are generated internally; that is, it’s our own travel within the metro area that causes the problem. The eastern outer loop toll road would, do nothing to help this situation.
The other “dead-horse” argument that keeps being flogged is that we need the eastern outer loop turnpike because of truck traffic generated by NAFTA.
The eastern outer loop turnpike is nothing more than a make-work, money-pit idea, and many are puzzled that there would be any opposition at all to having it removed from state law. The ideas of removing government interference in people’s lives and preservation of private property rights are ones the Republicans can surely get behind. The ideas of preserving the beautiful rural landscape and enacting the will of the citizenry are ones that the Democrats can surely support … This bill will make good the promises of last year, and give much needed relief and peace of mind to citizens of central Oklahoma whose homes, property and dreams are currently being held hostage by an outdated section of Oklahoma law.
Control The Loop Action Coalition