Arkansas River: March 2007 Archives

HB 1648, a bill sponsored by Tulsa Rep. Pam Peterson, passed the House today. The bill requires competitive bidding even if a construction project is initiated as a public/private partnership. From Mike McCarville's report:

"This bill protects taxpayers from the 'good ol' boy' deals that have plagued our highway and road construction projects for decades," said Peterson, R-Tulsa. "The only people disadvantaged by this bill are those who want to gouge taxpayers."

Due to a loophole in the Oklahoma Competitive Bidding Act, government entities are currently allowed to award construction projects to a single vendor if the private company "partners" with the state by loaning start-up money for the project. The state usually agrees to repay the private entity at very high interest rates.

The proposal was vigorously opposed by the construction industry, including Manhattan Construction, a large and politically influential firm. Rep. Peterson deserves a great deal of praise for her courage in taking on this issue.

Now we'll see if it can survive the Senate.

UPDATE: I misread the information I was given. The bill still must get scheduled for a full vote in the State House, and that is not yet assured. You can figure that the interests opposed to the bill will fight to prevent a vote, because a vote against it would be a vote against basic fiscal responsibility. Ultimately, the decision as to whether to schedule a vote is in the hands of Speaker Lance Cargill. This will give Oklahoma taxpayers an early indication if "pay to play" will be in effect during his time in the speaker's chair.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Arkansas River category from March 2007.

Arkansas River: February 2007 is the previous archive.

Arkansas River: April 2007 is the next archive.

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