Bridge Hi-Jenks

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The Jenks Journal has a story in its latest edition about the impact of the south Tulsa toll bridge as an issue in the House District 69 and Tulsa County Commission District 3 races. In the House 69 race, Chris Medlock opposes the bridge as proposed and has signed the South Tulsa Citizens' Coalition representation letter. His runoff opponent, developer Fred Jordan, did not sign the STCC representation letter. Accordingly, the STCC has endorsed Medlock for House 69:

Mr. Medlock is against the South Tulsa bridge as it is currently proposed and has signed one of STCC’s representation letters. You can learn more about Mr. Medlock’s campaign at

STCC does realize that the South Tulsa bridge issue is only one of many issues facing our city, county and state. However, given the candidates’ responses and to ensure that your voice continues to be heard with regard to the South Tulsa bridge issue, STCC encourages you to vote for... candidate Medlock in the Oklahoma House District 69 race.

[The elided text refers to the County Commission District 3 election. Click the link above to read the full text.]

Click here to see a screen capture of the STCC's endorsement of Medlock.

In the Jenks Journal, Medlock points out that despite Jordan's protestations, the legislature will be involved in the issues surrounding the proposed toll bridge. As an example, there was a bill before the legislature this year that would have required toll agreements with private companies and similar arrangements to be handled under the Oklahoma Competitive Bidding Act, to prevent insider deals like that between Infrastructure Ventures, Inc. (IVI) and Tulsa County. HB 2740 passed in the House and Senate by a large margin, but a parliamentary maneuver by Sen. Nancy Riley killed the deal.

Here's something I wrote before the primary about the range of issues that the Legislature could and should take up, in order to resolve some of the many legal questions surrounding this bridge scheme.

UPDATE: More hi-Jenks! I received a report from an STCC member who attended the Jenks City Council meeting earlier this week:

The 3 items that came up this evening where Jenks is relying on Tulsa are:

Water Supply: Jenks water pressure has been low recently and thinks the problem is Tulsa’s inadequacy at the Turkey Mountain Tank. They are trying to work towards having Tulsa upgrade the pumping system to solve their problem (Once again...Tulsa cost, Jenks benefit).

Centennial Celebration: Jenks anticipates Tulsa picking up the tab for the fireworks that will be shot off at the 96th street bridge in mid November for the celebration.

Public Transportation Service: Jenks contracts with Tulsa to provide bus service into Jenks. Service also includes handicap transportation needs.

It seems like time and time again the city of Jenks wants to take advantage of Tulsa....and we are just letting them.

Real regionalism is a two-way street, but Tulsa's suburbs seem to expect Tulsa to do all the work and carry all the costs while they reap the benefit, in the form of sales tax growth at Tulsa's expense.

(Unfortunately, Tulsa's previous mayor has made it possible for suburban officials to claim that they've given Tulsa what it wanted by backing the downtown arena as a part of Vision 2025. It may be what the people pressuring Bill LaFortune wanted, but it certainly isn't what Tulsa needed, and it won't offset sweetheart long-term water deals and the like.)


Bob said:

Interesting that State Senator Nancy "Benedict Arnold" Riley spiked legislation to require competitive bidding on any private toll projects in Oklahoma.

It was State Senator Nancy Riley that carried the water for the original narrowly-crafted legislation that permitted a private toll-bridge venture.

Probably for that reason, she stayed far away from any meeting of the STCC.

Looks like IVI/Cinnabar owns Ms. Riley, or maybe its just a short term rental.......

Joey Author Profile Page said:

After reading your postings regarding the bridge and Medlock and Jordan's positions, I read Mr. Jordan's response to the STCC on their website. I expected to find a strong statement supporting the bridge and the configuration to direct traffic down Yale. Instead, I found the following, in which Mr. Jordan says, "These concerns are valid and must be addressed."

It hardly sounds like someone who is dismissing the concerns of citizens who oppose the current configuration.

"There is no doubt that an additional Arkansas River bridge is desperately needed to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population in south Tulsa County, and I would do everything possible to see that such a bridge is built. At the same time, I recognize that there are serious concerns being expressed by many citizens as well as some Tulsa city officials. These concerns are valid and must be addressed.

Having said that, I would point out that, to my knowledge, there is no pending or proposed action in the legislature relating to the bridge.
What I bring to the table is the ability to be a peacemaker and mediate between the competing interests to achieve the best possible result for all concerned. Unfortunately, some of my opponents have disqualified themselves from serving in such a role by signing a highly restrictive and legalistic “pledge” committing themselves to oppose the bridge under any reasonable circumstances." -- Fred Jordan in letter to STCC

Anne said:

What Mr. Jordan is saying is double speak. It's a safe answer. But it doesn't make me feel safe. I want decisive legislators unafraid to say exactly what they want and how they intend to act on behalf of their constituents.

He wrote: "Unfortunately, some of my opponents have disqualified themselves from serving in such a role by signing a highly restrictive and legalistic “pledge” committing themselves to oppose the bridge under any reasonable circumstances."

I don't think that his opponents committed themselves to oppose the bridge "under any reasonable circumstances" at all. He needs to read the pledge again.

If you are a toll bridge NIMBY like we are - then their pledge could be seen as extremely reasonable.

theotherguy said:

Why does it have to be a toll bridge? All the benefits I keep hearing is about how much money it will raise after IVI gets their cut. Nothing about just paying for construction. We haven't learned the lesson from the broken promise to payoff the Turnpikes. Forget bond retirment, tolls are just taxes collected by the PIKEPASS.

P.S. still waiting for the Gilgrease Expressway bridge over the Arkansas

Phil Van Trease said:

I believe Mr. Jordan is reading the representation letter perfectly well. When he speaks of 'oppos[ing] the bridge,' he is clearly referring to the opposition stated in the letter he was asked to sign. That letter says the signor will not support a Yale alignment in any way. It also refers to the signor being 'allowed' to support a Riverside alignment. As it reads, the letter leaves no room whatsoever to consider the Yale alignment under any circumstances.

Those right along Yale may have their views on the bridge, but to those of us who don't live right along Yale, a candidate signing a letter like this is baffling. Essentially, we have candidates who are saying they are going to take a position that favors certain of their constituents, to the detriment of others, regardless of what arguments those potentially burdened constituents may have on the matter.

Call me cynical, but I think certain candidates saw signing the letter as a good way to ingratiate themselves with myopic voters. These types of elections don't typically see very high vote counts, and a block of single-issue oriented, politically motivated voters was probably an enticing prospect.

Bob said:

The latest tactic of the Politico-Frontmen mouthpieces pimping for IVI/Cinnabar's Toll Bridge is that it's now all about "Public Safety". Next we'll be hearing their standard ploy: "It's for the Children".

GOT to have another bridge or someone might DIE at the Kimberly Clark plant if an ambulance can't get them to a hospital fast enough.

Uh, maybe they should:

1) Thought about that BEFORE building all those housing additions, paper plant, businesses, etc. without proper infrastructure.

2) Get the Ambulance to just take the Creek Turnpike east to U.S. 169 and exit at 91st Street for Southcrest Hospital. REALLY a very quick trip from practically anywhere in the Jenks area.

the A Team said:

This public safety issue is pure propaganda. If Jenks and Bixby need better access and response times to Hospitals why not join forces and build one. Owasso has two hospitals being built. Are they saying mighty Jenks/Bixby empire together can't build one? I think those two cities should form an authority to get a private company to build a hospital for both communities instead of this bridge. A bridge that all studies indicate won't really be need to built for at least ten years. This bridge is just a short term solution to a long term problem for Jenks and Bixby.

BTW, Tulsa had to allocate 1.5 million dollars in subsidies to EMSA in the last budget to replace federal funding that has been cut in order to keep the ambulances running. Funding that might have been used to to help pay down Tulsa's billion dollar backlog of infrastructure needs. This new strain on Tulsa's struggling budget is expected to increase in future budgets.

Gee, I wonder how much the freeloading municipal welfare queens in Jenks and Bixby offered to help fund EMSA to make sure there's reliable service to provide the better response times they need so desperately?

XonOFF said:

Headline (in my dreams)


Cuts response times in half.

Bob said:

What a bunch of ingrates in these petty suburban fiefdoms.

Tulsa pumps and sells clean, fresh water at or below our cost under 40-year Sweet-Heart Deal contracts to these ingrates, while Tulsa Water & Solid Waste ratepayers pay the highest cost of any comparable metropolitan area in a five state region for our service.

Just because their suburban city governments supported Vision 2025 (downtown Arena) they think they are due even more favors back. And they supported paying for the Arena Cost Overruns, too.

Quiet down. Hope that Tulsans stay asleep until their pockets are picked clean by the GOB's.... Shhhhhhhh. ....

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 8, 2006 10:34 PM.

Sidewalk to nowhere? was the previous entry in this blog.

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