OTA Provides ACCESS Oklahoma Update

Press Release #019-22 (August 9, 2022) The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority appreciates the approval Tuesday by the Council of Bond Oversight of $500 million in revenue bonds for financing ACCESS Oklahoma turnpike projects. This action allows the OTA to move forward with plans to enhance travel on existing toll roads, including widening the John Kilpatrick, Turner and Will Rogers turnpikes; extending the new Gilcrease Expressway Turnpike to the north; building additional access points; and enhancing interchanges along turnpikes.

The OTA will continue with preliminary engineering design and environmental surveys alongside regulatory agencies to assess the feasibility of the Outer Loop alignments and the South Extension Turnpike.

The Council’s approval was also the final step necessary for the OTA to file an application with the Oklahoma Supreme Court for validation of those bonds. The application will be filed as early as tomorrow. The Authority routinely uses revenue bonds to finance large construction projects. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to hear validation actions, per state statute Title 69-1718. The validation action gives all persons interested in the matter an opportunity to be heard, present legal opposition against the issuance of the bonds, and ensures the Authority has the legal authorization to undertake the projects to be financed by the bonds, thereby providing certainty for all involved.

Most recently, OTA had bonds validated to construct the Kickapoo Turnpike and the Gilcrease West Expressway, both component projects of the Authority’s Driving Forward program. The Oklahoma Supreme Court validated the bonds issued to construct these projects in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

Subject to validation, the OTA will access the public capital markets to sell bonds to private investors.  These bonds will be payable from the revenues of the Authority, primarily toll revenues and do not constitute a debt of the State of Oklahoma. No bonds will be issued by the Authority until validation by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

Historically, OTA works from a five-year construction work plan, which is much smaller in scope than the ACCESS Oklahoma program. This 15-year, long-range plan provides the Authority flexibility in planning, scheduling and construction and represents better opportunities to engage the public well in advance of future turnpike projects.

For more information about ACCESS Oklahoma, visit www.ACCESSOklahoma.com.