Oklahoma's Industrial Access Road Program is administered by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT). The purpose of this Program is "to encourage and assist local efforts toward industrial development by providing funds for the construction or improvement of direct access facilities (road systems) to specific industrial areas wherein industrial operations are underway or have been committed to be underway by a specific time schedule." Emphasis is placed on projects that effectively help to connect a specific industry or industrial area to the state or local road system.
The program is restricted to funding of roads that are on public property. Funded industrial access roads must be off of the state highway system. The road may connect to state roads, but interchanges and ramps with state highways are not funded under this program. Funds only cover paved surfacing of roads (or railroad tracks). Local governments must cover costs for the right of way, utility relocation, grading and drainage. Railroad spurs may also be funded.
Application is via local governing bodies that submit an application for funding to the ODOT together with a resolution agreeing to pay the local match. This process directly occurs in the case when an existing business requires expansion of access in order to locate or expand in a community, or if a business has already selected a new site in a community, contingent on the community's success in getting funding for the access road.
However, sometimes an outside business, considering the possibility of locating and creating new jobs in Oklahoma, makes direct inquiry to the Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce (ODOC) about possible sites and available incentives. In that case, the ODOC typically calls ODOT to indicate that there is a party considering sites that may need access road assistance, and ODOT writes a letter of general commitment if the business decides to locate in Oklahoma. Then after the company picks a site in Oklahoma, the selected community can make a formal application for program funding. In any case, a local funding match funding is required.
The program is funded by special appropriation of the state legislature, which typically provides ODOT with at least $2.5 million per year for Industrial Access Road Projects by designating funds from general transportation accounts. ODOT has sometimes been provided as much as $10 million per year for this. ODOT can spend more out of general funds if desired. A typical year has around 15-20 projects.
The Industrial Access Roads Program was started in the 1970's, under Oklahoma Administrative Code, Title 730, Chapter 10. From the outset, the program was designed to give broad flexibility and decision-making latitude to ODOT staff, so that they could be responsive to requests from the Governor's office and Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce. This design allows the program to respond quickly to special situations and needs that sometimes arise when industries consider locating or expanding in Oklahoma. With this flexible process, the program has had little change over the past three decades.
Oklahoma's Industrial Access Road program has no minimum eligibility criteria, but the program is focused on improving access for industrial projects, though it is not precluded from occasionally investing in a commercial project that has regional significance. All roads must be on public property; a road running onto the property of private office parks or industrial parks is not eligible unless the full right-of-way is turned over to local government ownership. In addition, rail spurs to industrial facilities are eligible. The State of Oklahoma (through ODOT) owns 700 miles of short-line railroad track, so spurs off of those publicly-owned rail lines are also eligible.
Project selection is based on a series of factors that confirm the project's significance and need. These factors, requested on the application form, are:
Funding requires: (A) a formal application from the local government (city, county or industrial authority) including items listed below, (B) a letter from the industry planning to locate or expand in Oklahoma, verifying the estimates of capital, jobs and payroll, and (C) a resolution from the local government, affirming their responsibility to maintain the road after its completion.
ODOT assesses its success in leveraging private sector investment, and reports that its recent project funding has provided a better than a 10/1 ratio of private investment per dollar of public investment in access roads or highways. In addition, ODOT monitors local maintenance of industrial access roads previously funded under the program. If it is found that a funded facility is not adequately maintained, then ODOT policy is that no future industrial projects are to be approved for that county or community.
The following text is taken verbatim from Oklahoma DOT documents:
Selection Criteria for Industrial Access Projects (State Code 730:10-1-14)
Oklahoma Industrial Access Road Program Projects FY 2002
|County||Business||State Amount||Jobs created||Private Sector Capital Investment|
|Creek||Reconstruction of the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union Overpass in Sapulpa||$40,000||N/A||N/A|
|Jackson||Kizziar Feed Lots||$450,000||25||$1,500,000|
|Ottawa||Reconstruction of Mushroom Road||$400,000||N/A||N/A|
|Seminole||DISA GOFF, Inc||$175,000||50||$3,200,000|
|Kay||Conoco Gas to Liquids facility||$125,000||100||$75,000,000|
|Pottawatomie||Shawnee Industrial Park||$205,000||100+||$11,000,000|
|Seminole||SSC's Capitol Improvement Program||$115,000||15||$7,500,000|
|Comanche||Fort Sill National Cemetery||$542,000||20||$12,000,000|
|Harmon||Harmon County Dairy||$285,000||N/A||$4,500,000|
|Oklahoma||Municipal Solid Waste Transfer Station||$295,000||150||$18,000,000|
|Lincoln||Stroud Industrial Park||$245,000||50|
|Kay||Cococo Carbon Fibers Facility||$222,000||80||$70,000,000|
|Woods||Vantage Assoc., Barton Specialties, and Schwan's||$90,000||50||$1,500,000|