Turnpike

Bonds Approved with a Catch

The State Bond Oversight Commission on Thursday gave contingency approval to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to sell bonds to fund the Driving Forward Program.

However, OTA has to get its legal issues out of the way first, according to State Bond Advisor James Joseph.

“A condition of the approval was that they resolve any legal issues pending against the issuance of the bonds prior to sale,” he said.

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The OTA sought approval from the bond oversight commission to sell $480 million in bonds.

OTA will be at the State Supreme Court on September 20 for a referee hearing in response to a lawsuit filed challenging the constitutionality of the “bundling” mechanism to fund several of the projects, instead of funding them singly. The lawsuit was filed a week ago today by Oklahoma City attorney and constitution watchdog Jerry Fent.

In a meeting earlier this week, OTA voted to “table” raising toll hikes to pay for the program, and some work on the $300 million portion of Driving Forward including the Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike.

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