According to County Commissioner Marty Clinton, Jackson County has three districts with 1,200.03 miles of rural county roads and bridges, all in jeopardy of financial cuts.
Clinton poses these few questions to citizens of Jackson County: Do your children or grandchildren travel on a county road for school? Do you travel a county road to work, to buy groceries, see the doctor, or attend church? Do you transport your cotton, wheat or livestock driving on a county road? Do you use a county road to get to your favorite hunting spot or fishing hole?
Clinton said that if you answered yes to any of these questions, you should be very concerned about the proposed financial cuts. “It is a very important fact that counties maintain over 83,000 miles of County Highway System and 13,579 bridges,” said Clinton. The three Jackson County Commissioners have reported that the counties receive $3,923 per mile, and Jackson County is well below the state average.
County Road and Bridge funding misconceptions
Counties do not receive ad valorem tax for road maintenance. Property taxes are used for courthouse and jail operations and are not spent on the county highway system. A large majority of maintenance money comes from a gasoline tax. (Oklahoma ranks 48th in the country cheapest in fuel tax.)
Clinton said, “Every declared disaster costs the counties 12.5% of total cost. Last year flooding cost was over $35 million dollars to our state.” Commissioner Butler added the major negative impacts on the Jackson County 5-year construction plan for West Ridgcrest Road, Carver Road and Market Road projects, will now be pushed back to year 2022 or 2023.
It was also noted that the impact of legislative proposed funding cuts, and the hold on projects and maintenance of county roads and bridges, will result in tougher roads, additional vehicle maintenance, and can affect the safety of our population.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext.2077