Bridge congestion


I started working on an entry on yesterday's debate between Michael Covey of the South Tulsa Citizens Coalition and Tony Dark, an engineer with TetraTech FHC, the firm doing the engineering work for Infrastructure Venture Inc. (IVI), over the south Tulsa bridge which IVI wants to build as a public-private partnership with Tulsa County. I got distracted with e-mail and some other blog browsing and didn't get it done to my satisfaction.

For now I'll leave you with these few comments: Michael Covey did an excellent job of stating the case against the IVI-Tulsa County deal and against IVI's desired location of the bridge. I was amazed that the pro-IVI side would represented by an engineer working for a subcontractor, and not by one of the IVI principals or one of the County Commissioners. While Tony Dark did a decent job, the issues at hand involved policy and economics more than soil compaction and traffic counts. Clearly IVI didn't want anyone present who could be expected to answer questions about the public policy aspects of the bridge.

Covey has proposed an alternative plan, in which the City of Tulsa would build the bridge with revenue bonds and pay Tulsa County and River Parks the same amount of money they are expecting ($89 million and $44 million respectively) under the IVI plan. Based on information from George K. Baum and Associates, it's estimated that the City of Tulsa would net $611 million dollars over the life of the bridge, some of which could be used to pay for the infrastructure upgrades required for the roads which link to the bridge.

Referring to the County's intention to seek renewal of the 4 to Fix the County sales tax in order to raise $59 million for capital improvements, Covey asked, "Why would I vote for $59 million in taxes when Tulsa County has walked away from $658 million net profit?"

Regarding the STCC's proposal to move the northern end of the bridge so it connects into Riverside Drive rather than Yale Avenue, Dark made a telling remark. Dark said that moving the north end of the bridge would relieve traffic for existing subdivisions along Yale, but would create a 15 foot high barrier next to a planned high-end housing development along Riverside at 121st. In other words, the County wants to protect the interests of the new developer as the expense of neighborhoods where the developer has already sold all the homes and moved on.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 17, 2005 2:48 AM.

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