The Oklahoma Transportation Commission last week approved an estimated $4 billion construction plan for the next eight years that will include projects in each of the state’s 77 counties.

Some of the financing for the program will come from $300 million of bonds approved by the Legislature earlier this year.

The road bond bill allocates $275 million of the proceeds to the state highway department’s maintenance program and establishes a revolving loan program for county road and bridge projects with $25 million of the proceeds.

The road bonds will be issued by the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority in two tranches, with $150 million to be sold by Aug. 1, 2009, and the final $150 million going to market no later than Aug. 1, 2010.

Debt service on the bonds will be paid with a portion of the annual growth in motor vehicle fees. The average annual growth in motor vehicle fees is more than 3%.

The road bonds bill included an appropriation of $30 million a year for debt service. It also increases the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s funding by $30 million each year until it reaches an additional $370 million annually in 2016.

With the increased state money, about 60% of Oklahoma’s highway construction funding during the eight-year plan will come from federal sources, down from the 85% in earlier plans.

The 100-page, eight-year work program includes $2.1 billion of major improvements to high-volume highways, 449 bridge replacements, and 460 miles of safety-oriented improvements on two-lane highways.

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