The plan to eliminate toll booth collectors on all the Oklahoma turnpikes is another subtle way to put Tulsa at a disadvantage to Oklahoma City.
Six out of seven of the major four-lane highway connections that access Tulsa are turnpikes or turn into turnpikes.
Only two out of seven major four-lane highways that access Oklahoma City are turnpikes.
Therefore, tourists visiting Tulsa will more than likely be paying a toll to get there.
The plan is for the tolls to remain the same for PikePass holders once the toll booths are eliminated. Customers without a PikePass will use PlatePay and will pay an average of 75% more than the current cash rates.
A tourist visiting Tulsa is more likely to not have a PikePass.
Besides being more likely to have to pay a toll, a tourist going to Tulsa will have to pay substantially more. Potentially, tourists and commercial trucking will be driven to take a route away from Tulsa.
It seems that the same mentality is in use here as in the 1950s and 1960s when Tulsa was promised that the Turner and Will Rogers turnpikes would become free roads when the bonds were paid off.
Tulsa ignores the downside to turnpike policy.
Tulsa, and particularly tourists to Tulsa, will forever be plagued with tolls and the advantage goes to Oklahoma City.
David Sloan, Grove
Editor’s note: Oklahoma turnpike tolls are cross-pledged, meaning all the system’s toll revenue is used to pay debt on all its bonded projects. That effectively means that the debt will never be eliminated and there is no chance to make the roads toll-free.
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