By Travis Wilson
Their agenda was not to find the best route, a creative route, perhaps one that combines a new tollway with existing infrastructure, perhaps using highway 9. Their agenda was not to minimize bulldozed houses. (550 bulldozed houses on their plan map). Their agenda was not to minimize environmental impact.
They didn’t even tell the Norman City Council what was coming. Zoning? Zoning is for regular people, not the OKlahoma Turnpike Authority.
Their agenda was to give themselves a no-bid contract to build a new turnpike, the costs, the impact, the logic be damned. No-bid figuratively, in that no options other than a 100% OTA turnpike loop were considered. OTA has a turnpike hammer, to them everything is a nail.
And since Tim Gatz runs the OTA, the ODOT, and is State Transportation Secretary, and they snuck this in in-between legislative sessions, and will soon issue billions of dollars in bonds to buy our houses, after that there will be no oversight that can even ask if this is a good idea, if it is the best route, if it serves Oklahomans to bulldoze 550 homes.
There is no oversight. There are no checks and balances.
We all spent the last two years trying to save our homes, to make payments, to survive months with zero income, to protect our families.
All the while, the OTA was collecting their paychecks, working from their homes, and scheming how to take OUR homes. Disgusting.
I stood in my front yard in 2013 and watched the May 20th Moore tornado destroy 1150 nearby homes. I never thought the State of Oklahoma would come for possibly mine and 550 more.
Gatz must resign from two of his three positions immediately. He is the highest paid employee in Oklahoma I think. It is a conflict of interest that pushes turnpikes at the exclusion of existing infrastructure and alternatives.
Investor owned Bonds should not be used to buy citizens’ homes. This is a clear moral hazard. “Bulldozer Bonds”.
Governor Stitt: Did the OTA tell you that 550 houses would be bulldozed in the plan they released? Why did you say it was undeveloped land? Did you look at the map? Do you approve of this?
Were you lied to? Or do think this is all ok?
Project Manager Poe and Associates: Why did you come to the town hall completely unprepared? Was it too much to expect for you to look at your own maps and see how many houses were in the path? You couldn’t take an hour to look into that? No, you intentionally didn’t do your homework so you could have deniability. You were literally paid not to know things. Don’t you even have the professional curiosity to look into it?? Is that how Professional Engineers conduct themselves? Shame. How can we trust you? Why would we work with you?
ODOT: Why was ODOT buying property in the path in summer 2021 ahead of the announcement? Are these properties going to be transferred to the OTA? Did you tell the sellers this?
OTA: Why haven’t traffic studies been done yet? Why haven’t cost estimates be done yet? Why haven’t engineering studies been done yet? Why haven’t environmental studies been done yet? Why haven’t water studies been done yet?
How can the OTA slam this through without having done any of the homework? Who does that? It’s a $5 billion dollar project!! Maybe you should study up. Perhaps?
Do you think Norman, the most environmental city in Oklahoma is going go for this? Do you know how many smart people live here?
Oklahomans deserve better than this.