Oklahoma's transportation director says road projects across the state will face significant delays if the Legislature pushes forward with a plan to divert transportation funding to education over the next several years.
Director Mike Patterson updated members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission on Monday about a bill passed by a Senate committee last week that would divert hundreds of millions of dollars from transportation directly to public schools.
Patterson said the bill likely will delay completion of the agency's eight-year road and bridge construction plan by about four years, from 2018 to 2022.
The bill, written by Written by Rep. Lee Denney and Sen. Jim Halligan, goes to the full Senate next.
"We are in a very, very challenging budget situation. That means that you're going to have to look at some of the funds you're spending now, and use those to address this issue," Halligan said. "Roads and children - in my mind both of those have to be addressed, and we are not doing a good job in terms of providing the resources we need to educate our children."
Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said last week he doesn't support the measure in its current form.