What is the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority?
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) is an instrumentality of the State of Oklahoma (the State) and a body corporate and politic created by statute in 1947. The Authority is authorized to construct, maintain, repair and operate turnpike projects at locations authorized by the Legislature of the State of Oklahoma and approved by the State Department of Transportation. The Authority receives revenues from turnpike tolls and a percentage of the turnpike concession sales. The Authority may issue Turnpike Revenue Bonds for the purpose of paying the costs of turnpike projects and Turnpike Revenue Refunding Bonds for the purpose of refunding any bonds of the Authority then outstanding. Turnpike Revenue Bonds are payable solely from the tolls and other revenues of the Authority and do not constitute indebtedness of the State.
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is similar to a public utility, providing a needed, basic service at a fee that yields a return to its investors. The Authority must generate sufficient revenues to operate and maintain its roads at a high quality while covering the interest and principal payments owed to bondholders (investors) who have purchased its revenue bonds.
Who oversees the OTA and how does that relate to us?
Senate and House Transportation Committees
The Senate and House Transportation Committees are primarily tasked with handling legislative issues relating to Oklahoma’s roads, bridges and turnpike systems. This committee can also cover modes of transportation such as airports, railway and waterways. Agencies often working with the Transportation Committee include the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, and the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. Members are chosen by their party.