Turnpike Authority moves to raise tolls on state roads

Motorists on the Turner Turnpike may soon have to pay more for a trip from Tulsa to Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has voted to increase the tolls on all state turnpikes and it will go into effect if the liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court approves the constitutionality of a proposed bond issue for the OTA.

According to the Oklahoma Constitution, all public bond issues must be subject to a public vote. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has previously ruled that the government can borrow with bonds without a vote of the people.

The fee increase would mean another 50 cents to drive from Tulsa to Oklahoma City.

The OTA board wants the higher fees to pay for the pending $480,000,000.00 bond issue that would fund work on the Gilcrease Expressway, the Muskogee Turnpike, the Turner Turnpike, the H.E. Bailey Turnpike, the Kilpatrick Turnpike and a new toll road in East Oklahoma County.

Oklahoma City Attorney Jerry Fent is suing the OTA because he says the Oklahoma Constitution states that a law may only cover one topic and the OTA bond includes multiple topics. Fent also says that accumulating more and more debt serviced by tolls violates a constitutional mandate against perpetual government debt.

If and when the suit is settled in the OTA’s favor, the authority plans to sell bonds and raise tolls as soon as it can.

The OTA plan calls for a systemwide 12 percent toll increase would be implemented that would be followed by a 2.5 percent increase on Jan. 1, 2018, and an extra 2.5 percent increase on July 1, 2019.

Toll rates vary, according to the number of axles on a vehicle, which turn pike it is and usage of Pikepasses.

Some of the rate hikes would be:

  • The Pikepass toll from Tulsa to Oklahoma City on the Turner Turnpike would rise to $4.40 from $3.90. Cash customers would go from $4 to $4.50. For of six-axle trucks, the Turner Turnpike trip from Tulsa to Oklahoma City would rise jump $19 to $21.30 for Pikepass users, and from $20 to $22.50 for cash customers.
  • The same 50 cent toll increases and rate changes would be paid by passenger car drivers going from Tulsa to the Missouri state line on the Will Rogers Turnpike. That’s true for six-axle trucks traveling from Tulsa to the Missouri state line on the Will Rogers Turnpike.
  • The toll for driving a passenger car on the John Kilpatrick Turnpike from I-35 to I-40 in Oklahoma City would go up 30 cents. The new toll for Pikepass customers would be $2.50 and the toll for cash customers would be $2.60.
  • For passenger car drivers, the toll for driving from Oklahoma City to Wichita Falls on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike would rise from $4.45 to $5.05 for Pikepass holders and from $4.75 to $5.50 for cash customers.
  • The toll for a car driving from Henryetta to McAlester on the Indian Nation Turnpike would go up 25 cents. The new toll for Pikepass customers would be $2.15, while cash customers would pay $2.25.
  • The passenger car toll for driving on the Muskogee Turnpike from Tulsa to Webbers Falls would go from $2.80 to $3.20 for Pikepass holders and from $3 to $3.50 for cash customers.
  • The Cimarron Turnpike passenger car toll for driving from Tulsa to I-35 would increase from $2.85 to $3.25 for Pikepass customers and from $3 to $3.50 for cash customers.
  • The toll for a passenger car to drive the length of the Cherokee Turnpike from U.S. 69 to Flint Creek (near West Siloam Springs) would go from $2.40 to $2.70 for Pikepass owners and from $2.50 to $3 for cash customers.
  • The passenger car toll for driving the length of the Creek Turnpike around Tulsa would go up 35 cents, from $2.60 to $2.95 for Pikepass customers and from $2.80 to $3.15 for cash customers.
  • The Chickasaw Turnpike toll for a passenger car to drive from Roff to Sulphur would go up 10 cents. The new toll for Pikepass customers would be 65 cents and the toll for cash customers would be 75 cents.