Transportation System Funding
State and Federal Funding
The I-40 Crosstown and adjacent Union Pacific Railroad in Oklahoma City
ODOT Program Areas
The mission of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is to provide a safe, economical and effective transportation network for the people, commerce and communities of Oklahoma.
ODOT’s areas of responsibility include:
- Construction and maintenance of non-tolled state, U.S. and interstate highways. This does not include county roads, city streets or turnpikes.
- Construction and maintenance of weigh station and port of entry facilities, which are funded and operated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for enforcement of commercial trucking regulations
- Administration of the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges program, which provides state funding for high priority county road and bridge projects selected by county commissioners through their Circuit Engineering Districts
- Administration of federal funding used on city and county road and bridge projects
- Administration of state and federal funding for public transit operators in areas with less than 50,000 in population. Urban transit operators in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, Edmond and Lawton administer their own services and funding.
- Administration of federal funding for organizations that provide transit services for the elderly and disabled
- Safety oversight of fixed guideway rail transit systems, including the Oklahoma City Streetcar
- Coordination with transit providers on grant applications, technical assistance and development of the Oklahoma Public Transit Policy Plan
- Funding and operation of passenger rail service on the Amtrak Heartland Flyer in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation
- Administration of state and federal funding for safety improvements to at-grade rail crossings on highways, city streets and county roads
- Maintenance of 134 miles of state-owned railroad, which are used by private rail operators through lease agreements
- A portion of state motor fuel tax, motor vehicle tax and fee collections and income tax revenues go to the State Transportation Fund (STF), the State Highway Construction and Maintenance Fund, the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) Fund and the High Priority State Bridge Fund for highway construction and maintenance. See below for details.
- By law, ODOT does not receive toll revenue; all toll collections go to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority for turnpike construction, maintenance, operations and debt service.
- FY 2021 state funding for highways is $814 million. (Includes $200 million in bonds authorized to help offset ROADS Fund reduction)
- A portion of state motor fuel tax and income tax revenue goes to the Public Transit Revolving Fund to help rural public transit providers match federal funds
- FY 2021 state funding for transit is nearly $5.8 million.
- A portion of state motor fuel tax, freight car tax and income tax revenue goes to the Rail Maintenance Revolving Fund for maintenance of state-owned railroad and rail crossing safety improvements and to the Oklahoma Tourism and Passenger Rail Revolving Fund for operation of the Amtrak Heartland Flyer passenger rail service.
- FY 2021 state funding for rail is $3.4 million.
- There is no dedicated funding source for waterways. The ODOT Waterways Branch is funded through the agency’s general operations budget.
State Highway Funding details
Motor Fuel Taxes
- State taxes ($0.20 on gasoline and $0.20 on diesel) are assessed on each gallon of motor fuel purchased. The tax per gallon stays the same regardless of the price of fuel.
- By statute, state motor fuel tax revenue is apportioned to several areas of state government, cities, counties and tribes.
- ODOT receives both apportionments and appropriations of fuel tax revenue.
Motor Vehicle Collections
- Motor vehicle collections include state taxes and fees on automobile purchases, licenses, permits, tags, titles, etc.
- By statute, state motor vehicle collections are apportioned to several areas of state government, cities, counties and school districts.
- Legislation passed in 2005 directed an annual allocation of state income tax revenue to the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) Fund for highway construction. The annual allocation was incrementally increased several times by changes in law.
- Legislation passed in 2018 changed the composition of the ROADS Fund to include motor fuel tax and motor vehicle revenue in order to free up more income tax revenue to be returned to the state’s General Revenue Fund for appropriation to other areas of government.
- By statute, the total ROADS Fund allocation is capped at $575 million annually.
More info: ODOT Fiscal & Organization Strategy
Federal taxes on motor fuel, heavy trucks, tires and trailers, as well as appropriations from the General Fund by Congress, go to the Highway Trust Fund to provide funding for state, city and county road and bridge projects, and also for public transit.
Oklahoma’s federal transportation funding allocation is divided among highways, city streets, county roads, transportation research, metropolitan transportation planning, public transit and railroad crossing safety. Oklahoma also competes with other states for special federal grants for transportation projects.
Roads and Bridges
- $620 million annually from the Federal Highway Administration is designated for roads and bridges, which includes:
- $513 million for right-of-way, construction and safety improvements on ODOT highway projects and ACOG and INCOG local government projects
- $54 million for ODOT highway engineering costs
- $27 million for ODOT administrative programs, which includes construction inspection, data collection, research, debt service and information technology
- $26 million for construction on county projects
- $21 million annually from the Federal Transit Administration is designated for public transit operations
- $8 million annually from FHWA is designated for rail crossing safety projects, including installation of signs, signals and gate arms.
Budget and Spending
ODOT FY 2020 Budget by Activity
- Nearly 75% of ODOT’s total budget goes to capital activities, which includes highway construction, asset preservation, rail and local government road projects.
- 14% is spent on operations, which includes highway maintenance.
- Administrative costs are only about 2% of total expenses.
Investment Strategy for Highways
- Construction – All activities associated with the design and construction of major highway and bridge projects in the Eight-Year Construction Work Plan. This includes engineering, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and construction.
- Asset Preservation – Preventative maintenance projects in the Asset Preservation Plan are designed to extend the life of the transportation system through pavement resurfacing and rehabilitation, bridge rehabilitation and bridge painting and sealing.
- Maintenance – Routine and reactive maintenance performed by crews in ODOT’s eight Field Divisions is required to keep highways safe for the driving public. This work includes pothole patching, surface and bridge repair, guardrail and cable barrier replacement, snow and ice removal and other repairs.
- ODOT has reduced its workforce by 25%, from 3,200 employees in 1990 down to 2,400 in 2020. This was accomplished mostly through attrition and reduction of administrative positions.
- Much of the agency’s pre-construction work is contracted out to private-sector engineering firms and all construction is performed by contractors through a competitive bid process.
- Other cost-saving measures include reducing out-of-state travel, delaying the replacement of vehicles and equipment, delaying purchase of new computers and software, leaving some vacant positions unfilled and delaying the replacement of outdated maintenance facilities.
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