Gilcrease Expressway West Project in Okla. Receives $120M for Renovations

Tue June 02, 2020 - West Edition #12
AASHTO Journal


Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday for the Gilcrease Expressway Extension. The 5-mi. toll road will finish a highway loop through west Tulsa.
(Public Radio Tulsa photo
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday for the Gilcrease Expressway Extension. The 5-mi. toll road will finish a highway loop through west Tulsa. (Public Radio Tulsa photo

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao recently announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation's Build America Bureau will provide up to a $120.1 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) to help finance the Gilcrease Expressway West Project in Oklahoma.

"This $120.1 million federal investment in the Gilcrease Expressway reflects the President's continued emphasis on infrastructure and will promote economic growth by reducing congestion for residents and travelers in the Tulsa, Oklahoma region," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The Project, a 5-mi. 4-lane divided tollway that includes 22 bridges (two of which span the Arkansas River), four major interchanges and a 10-ft.-wide multi-use trail, is the first Project in the State of Oklahoma to ever use TIFIA credit assistance. The project is intended to relieve congestion during peak travel periods and provide a new and more direct route to city attractions and various points of interest in the Tulsa urban core by improving connectivity between neighborhoods on opposite sides of the Arkansas River.

The primary source of repayment of the TIFIA loan is gross toll revenue and supplemental funds from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation through an Assistance Agreement.

The OTA was created by statute in 1947 as an instrumentality of the state of Oklahoma and a body corporate and politic, authorized to construct, operate and maintain turnpike projects in the State of Oklahoma. As such, the OTA will be responsible for operating and maintaining the project post-construction.

The Bureau, which administers the TIFIA credit program, was established as a "one-stop-shop" to streamline credit opportunities while also providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation. The Bureau has the resources and full commitment to provide flexibility, consistent with law, and financial assistance to transportation projects in regions impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency to minimize the negative effects and help them recover more quickly. During Secretary Chao's tenure at DOT, the Bureau has closed $7.9 billion in TIFIA financings, supporting more than $27.6 billion in infrastructure investment across the country.