Gov. Kevin Stitt wants to consolidate the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
Combining the two state agencies makes sense because they both focus on improving transportation in Oklahoma, Stitt said in a recent radio interview.
“My goal is to consolidate those two agencies because really, to us, to the people of Oklahoma, it’s all transportation,” he said. “I don’t like silos. I don’t like just doing what’s good for turnpike or just doing what’s good for transportation because it’s all infrastructure in our state.”
Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz said he and Stitt have discussed the idea extensively. The governor is looking at Oklahoma’s transportation needs as a whole, Gatz said.
Stitt also said he’d like to see a situation where revenue from the turnpikes helps the state build and maintain other roads and highways, especially in rural parts of Oklahoma.
The consolidation conversation began when Stitt combined the jobs of leading the Turnpike Authority and Department of Transportation, said Gatz, who is the director of both agencies.
Through consolidation, the agencies would be able to find ways to work together to be more efficient, he said.
He pointed to Turnpike Authority maintenance facilities, where the department stores salt that is poured on the turnpikes when inclement weather hits. But when transportation crews are salting state highways, they have to return to a transportation department facility to replenish their salt supply instead of stopping at a turnpike storage facility that may be closer.