Oklahoma’s infrastructure is in need of immediate attention. This is the conclusion of the 2013 Report Card for Oklahoma’s Infrastructure, the first-ever report from the Oklahoma Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The report card exists to communicate the overall performance of infrastructure. An expert team of more than twenty civil engineers researched the major components of Oklahoma’s infrastructure for more than 18 months to arrive at the Report Card’s grades. The purpose of the Report Card is for the public to easily understand how their state’s infrastructure is being maintained.
Oklahoma is ranked #4 in the nation for number of airports per capita. The Oklahoma airport system includes 114 publicly-owned and 49 regional business airports, 43 of these are jet-capable. The average Pavement Condition Index (PCI) value recorded for 83 of Oklahoma’s airfield pavements for 2012 is 66, or good condition. Oklahoma airports anticipate receiving approximately $25.2 million in 2013 for infrastructure improvements.
Oklahoma is consistently ranked at or near the bottom of multiple lists as having the worst bridges in the nation. Structurally-deficient bridges are a danger to motorists and have a detrimental impact on the economic growth. Approximately 1 in 5 bridges are deteriorating to some degree. Phase 1 of the Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan included the improvement of 126 unfunded bridges by adding them to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) 8-Year Construction Work Plan (CWP). Phase 2 was addressed during the 2012 session that enhanced the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) funding beginning in 2014. With the passage of this legislation, the remaining 167 structurally-deficient bridges were added to the 2013-2020 ODOT Eight-Year CWP which marks a great effort to improve the state’s bridges.
There are an estimated 4,702 dams in Oklahoma including 53% regulated by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) 44% administered by the United States Department of Agriculture–Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and Oklahoma Conservation Commission (OCC), 3% are federally-owned, and 5 dams that are related hydroelectric facilities operated by the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA). An estimated $430 million will be required in order to bring high-hazard dams in compliance with OWRB criteria. An additional $22 million is needed for immediate upkeep and to comply with dam safety standards.
Oklahoma has 402 recorded private, state, and federally constructed levees. The average age of federally constructed levee systems in Oklahoma is 56 years, while the average age of privately constructed levee systems is generally unknown and most have not been inspected since the late 1980s. There are currently no state programs to deal with levee safety or private or non-federally constructed government levees within Oklahoma.
Oklahoma maintains nearly 4,000 miles of freight rail lines. One passenger rail service is provided by Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer providing round trip service from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas daily. Overall, the Oklahoma rail industry is capable of maintaining its basic infrastructure. Rural Oklahoma has a need for funding to allow for expansion and improvement of its network. Additionally, emerging and new rail-served business creation will require additional capital expenditures and funding mechanisms for the required rail infrastructure.
Improvements to our roadways are always a key point for candidates who are running for local public offices, and with good reason. Oklahoma currently has 12,265 state highway miles and 84,767 county highway miles. In fact, 4,536 miles of the county system includes city streets in 493 cities. Oklahomans pay approximately $1.2 billion to the state in road taxes and fees including motor vehicle licenses and tag fees and state fuel taxes and fees. More than 70% of these motor vehicle fees are diverted to non-transportation purposes.
Oklahoma is comprised of 25 public transit systems, of these 22 are predominantly rural and 3 are urban. Continued efforts are needed to integrate and promote Transit systems within our community’s transportation planning process. Greater emphasis must be placed on connecting metropolitan urban and suburban areas through transit to ease congestion, provide assistance to Americans with limited mobility, and develop local economies.
Water and Wastewater
Oklahomans have an abundance of water, but many communities lack access to dependable water sources due to the distance of supplies, insufficient infrastructure or storage, water quality constraints, and other limiting factors. Increasing water use coupled with growth and development pose water quality challenges throughout the state. A majority of existing water infrastructure has aged beyond its useful life and with stringent water quality requirements a significant financial burden faces Oklahoma’s water systems.
A: EXCEPTIONAL, B: GOOD, C: MEDIOCRE, D: POOR, F: FAILING
Each category was evaluated on the basis of capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation
Key Facts about Oklahoma's Infrastructure
101 public-use airports
3,234 (14.01%) of the 23,071 bridges are structurally deficient
449 high hazard dams
Dams with EAPS
89% of the state regulated dams have an Emergency Action Plan
$6.86 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years
8 sites on the National Priorities List
150 miles of inland waterways, ranking it 30th
106 miles of levees
6.2 million short tons of cargo in 2012, ranking it 37th nationally
$4.58 million of unmet needs for its parks system
3,158 miles of freight railroads across the state, ranking 18th nationally
$900 per motorist per year in costs from driving on roads in need of repair
112,865 miles of Public Roads, with 33% in poor condition
$624 million gap in estimated school capital expenditures
10,875,118 annual unlinked passenger trips via transit systems including bus, transit, and commuter trains
$2.4 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years
Our nation’s infrastructure problems are solvable if we have leadership and commit to making good ideas a reality. Raising the grades on our infrastructure will require that we seek and adopt a wide range of solutions.