PIKE OFF OTA and our freeway fighting friends have been working hard in the legal arena these past few weeks! Thank you to all who donated to help pay our legal fees. We would love to see more of our community, supporters, and allies donate so we can keep up the important fight!
Three citizen and municipality (protestant) replies were submitted this week to the Oklahoma State Supreme Court (Case #120,619). These 15-page legal briefs are in reply to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s (OTA) (petitioner) Response to the Court’s order of May 30, 2023 (show cause). This show cause asked the OTA to explain how the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s (BoR) denial of OTA’s application to cross federal fee title lands would affect OTA’s statutory authority to construct the South Extension.
City of Norman
The first response to hit the OSCN system was filed by the City of Norman. Click here to read the entire PDF -> 2023-07-12 – City of Norman’s Reply
Our favorite lines from this brief are:
“unlike Humpty Dumpty, OTA cannot make the words of a statute mean what OTA wants them to mean”
“OTA has become like Frankenstein’s monster. It has declared its absolute independence and asserts it is no longer subject to its creator’s mandates.”
The argument here is that the OTA is completely making up the authorization statute for the Southern Extension.
The second brief was filed by Attorney Dowling on behalf of protestants John and Jo McKay. Click here to read the entire PDF -> 2023-07-12 – Dowling Reply
Ms. Dowling’s arguments question the ability of the OTA to build these roadways without BoR permission while still complying with statutory requirements. She debates how much the routes can change and still comply with OTA’s statutory requirement to give notice to impacted citizenry. Finally her reply explains that the expiration of bond council conditional approval does not moot a bond validation proceeding.
The fact that this bond validation was sought prior to necessary permissions being attained and before the routes were sufficiently drawn to insure the people notified were actually the people to be impacted are important points. We have insisted from Day 1 that the OTA engages in backward engineering processes and that the statutes need to be changed to force them to perform transportation planning correctly. This is an excellent example of why legislation needs to be changed.
Pike Off OTA
The third brief was filed by PIKE OFF OTA’s attorney Mr. Norman. Click here to read the entire PDF -> 2023-07-12 – Rob Norman’s Reply
The PIKE OFF OTA reply brief argues that the OTA cannot lawfully build ANY of the three new alignments in the ACCESS Oklahoma program regardless of ANY route adjustments made to avoid federal lands.
- The OTA cannot lawfully build the South Extension because there is no location authorization for it anywhere in 69 O.S. Section 1705(e).
- The OTA cannot lawfully build the East-West Connector because of the one bond issue, four turnpike bundling mandate of Section 1705(f).
- Validating bonds for any new alignments requiring unknown, significant future route revisions would violate due process meaning that citizens who were outside the original route corridors may find themselves affected by a new route after the fact without being duly notified or without a chance to contest.
- The OTA is attempting to unlawfully evade oversight with its purposeful decision to let the council of bond oversight’s conditional approval expire.
All three briefs are on fire and well-prepared. There is no known timeline for when the Supreme Court will enter its decision, but please sign up for our newsletter and follow our Facebook page to stay informed!