Editorial: Turnpike tolls may soon increase

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is close to raising toll rates on the states turnpikes.

Why? Because they can and no one will stop them.

When Oklahoma began building toll roads, it was sold to the public that once sufficient revenue came from the tolls to cover the cost of the original construction, the tolls would be lifted and they would become free roads.

That hasn’t happened and it’s not going to happen.

The OTA is an authority. It can borrow money through bonding without a vote of the people and it can continue to charge for toll roads that should have been paid for years ago.

The toll for a car to go from Tulsa to Oklahoma City on the Turner Turnpike is $3.90 with a Pikepass. The Turner Turnpike used to have several gas stations and McDonald’s restaurants. Now it has one big over-priced McDonalds and a handful of gas stations. This is the main road between the two biggest cities in Oklahoma. Imagine what could be developed along the Turner Turnpike if it were a free road.

There would be a host of hotels, restaurants, gas stations and gift shops that would make a lot of local money from out-of-state traffic. Stroud would become a major city and the whole state would prosper. But instead, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is raising toll rates. And they are going to borrow tens of millions of dollars, which will put pressure on future tolls to repay that fiscal irresponsibility.

The bond-financed projects included the Gilcrease Expressway, the Muskogee Turnpike, the Turner Turnpike, the H.E. Bailey Turnpike, the Kilpatrick Turnpike and a new Oklahoma City-area turnpike.

The OTA will spend $28,000,000.00 to extend the Gilcrease Expressway, including a toll bridge over the Arkansas River.

This is all about growing government and taking everything bureaucrats can from a hapless population.