BY BRIAN RENEGAR and DONNIE CONDIT
An open letter to Gov. Mary Fallin:
It will come as no surprise to you that Pittsburg County was inundated with rainfall over the weekend – again. We received over six inches Saturday night alone and now lead the state in the total inches of rain for May. The Saturday/Sunday deluge, on top of other rainfall, has been devastating to our county roads and bridges.
At Tuesday morning’s Pittsburg County Commissioners’ meeting, a preliminary estimate of infrastructure damage was announced with a conservative estimate of at least $2 million. As an example, Burris Valley Road in the southern part of Pittsburg County washed out for a six-mile stretch. The roadbed is gone; culverts are no longer there.
With the ink barely being dry on the [FY ’16 state] budget agreement, the $50 million taken from the County Improvement Road and Bridge Fund is already sorely missed.
Two years ago, when Oklahoma’s skies wreaked havoc on Cleveland and Oklahoma counties, the Rainy Day fund was tapped for $50 million to address emergency funding needs. We would ask that you make the same consideration today for rural Oklahoma’s flooding devastation.
Although we have only addressed one county’s loss, we know the damage is widespread and the resources to address the crisis statewide are limited, at best.
We appreciate your consideration of this request and await your prompt response. Do not hesitate to contact the Capitol office if we can provide further information.
– Brian Renegar and Donnie Condit, both McAlester Democrats, represent Districts 17 and 18, respectively, in the Oklahoma House of Representatives