Improve Our Tulsa Critical for Capital Improvements

Courtesy City of Tulsa
NEEDING REPAIR: Rusted out City of Tulsa snow trucks.

Over the past year, the City Council and I held Improve Our Tulsa town hall meetings across the city to hear where Tulsans thought we should focus our capital improvement efforts. The majority of the feedback we received was regarding street improvements, which matched the 2019 Gallup CitiVoice Index results showing Tulsans overwhelmingly rank city streets as a top priority.
The Gallup CitiVoice Index results did not surprise me due to the large footprint we must maintain at the city. For context, the city of Tulsa is larger than San Francisco, Boston, Washington D.C. and Miami combined in square miles and we have 1,444 lane miles across the city to maintain – meaning, we have a lot of ground to cover as it pertains to street maintenance. Although we have made substantial progress on our streets in the past decade, we must continue to maintain the streets we have recently completed while rehabilitating older streets in our city so they do not fall into disrepair.
This is where we need your help. On Nov. 12, Tulsans will get an opportunity to vote on the extension for Improve Our Tulsa, a $639 million capital improvement program designed to fund improvements to Tulsa’s basic infrastructure. This is not a tax increase, but instead simply continues our existing tax rate for the next six years. The majority of funding will go to our streets and the rest will provide needed funding for public safety, infrastructure and capital projects. Improve Our Tulsa will also prepare our city for the next economic recession by providing a funding source for our Rainy Day Fund.
For streets and transportation, the Improve Our Tulsa extension would fund street rehabilitation and widening, new sidewalks and overlays, bridge repairs, traffic calming with funding for pavement marking and signage and pedestrian and bike lanes. In public safety, we will be able to replace our run-down police cars, fire trucks and 911 alert system. For infrastructure and capital projects, we will bring major renovations to our parks with rehabilitation and replacement of unused equipment, fund animal shelter renovations, create a Route 66 Bus Rapid Transit route, and we will finally be able to replace our old heavy-duty dump trucks and snow and ice trucks that we must have to handle snow and ice storms.
Over the last several years, Improve Our Tulsa has completed an array of projects that have improved the quality of life for Tulsans including street and intersection rehabilitations across the city while opening new playgrounds and swimming pools for our youth, but we can’t stop there. Our city deserves more. This program will decide the future of our city – we have to fix our streets. Our first responders must have vehicles that work so they can reach Tulsans in danger. Our parks should have safe equipment that is safe for kids to use. Improve Our Tulsa will take care of these common-sense things, but only if Tulsans turn out and vote.
I look forward to seeing you on Nov. 12 at the polls.