The Oklahoma Transit Authority has taken a step closer to expanding the turnpike. Council members voted in favor of a $200 million loan to get the project off the ground.
Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz said the money will go towards research that will gather information to refine the path for expansion and open a fuller dialogue with affected owners. Those same owners said talks should have started before financing was even on the table.
“See nothing, say nothing, hear nothing. That seems to be the way OTA likes to present things to the general public,” said Norman resident Dave Morris.
Residents of Normandy came to Tuesday’s OTA meeting and once again made their positions known with placards and shirts. They attended the meeting as council members voted to initiate the first stages of the toll highway expansion.
“No public comment. They call it public because people in the public are allowed to see it, but you can do it on a TV at home,” Morris said.
“We’re going to go through another iteration based on environmental survey and engineering,” OK explained. Secretary of Transportation, Tim Gatz. He added: “We’re going to work hard and quickly to try to make sure we can start those dialogues with owners.”
This is the information residents say they want now.
“If you just want to look at the central Oklahoma region, the water supply from Norman, Del City, Moore will all be done. Midwest City,” Morris said.
Officials also said they hope to work hand in hand with the owners as they will need to help them find a new place to live.
“There’s definitely a housing shortage now, but again, that’s part of why we took a long-term look,” Secretary Gatz explained.
OTA officials also said they had to pay fair market value for the hundreds of homes in the line of fire.