To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, October 18, 2021

Observercast

Rainy Day[s] Funding

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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

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.