State of the City: Becoming Globally Competitive

From Tulsa’s Mayor by G. T. Bynum
Mayor of Tulsa

LOOKING FORWARD: Tulsa has had a great history known once as “America’s Most Beautiful City” and also as “The Oil Capital of the World.” Tulsa is now becoming a globally competitive, world-class city.

Courtesy Tulsa Historical Society

Last November, I was privileged to present our State of the City’s report to one of the largest audiences in Tulsa history! My administration’s focus is to become globally competitive: creating equal opportunities for all Tulsans, improving public safety and further developing the city we want for us and for those who come after us.

The evolution of our great city is being noticed by people around the country and around the world. They realize Tulsa is becoming a globally competitive, world-class city. Our mindset is one where we recognize not only our competitors around the world, but also our collaborators here at home.

With $300 million in downtown projects scheduled to begin construction in the next 12 months, our city’s core continues to grow at an unparalleled pace. Additional numbers that speak to our city’s resurgence, is a 30 percent decrease in homicides over last year. Also, a recent study by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency found Tulsa’s job growth has outpaced not only our state’s but the country’s.

In 2018, we landed the two largest new employers to ever come to Tulsa in the history of our city – the Amazon distribution center, and Greenheck, a ventilation system manufacturer. While these two companies are historic wins for Tulsa, they represent a broader trend. The U.S. Comptroller of the Currency issued a study in September 2018 showing that year-over-year, Tulsa outpaced not just Oklahoma but the United States as a whole, in job growth!

In 2019, our city’s top three priorities will focus on infrastructure, education and development. The City Council and I will work to put together an estimated $500 million renewal of the Improve Our Tulsa capital improvements package. The funding for this first initiative will go primarily to improve city streets and fix and replace aging and defective infrastructure, including police cars, fire trucks and park buildings. This is the city’s basic infrastructure program. Although the city has made major strides in improving its roads, the reality is our streets are still a long way from something we can be proud of.

Our second initiative is to have a communitywide discussion for a plan on how Tulsans can improve their education system, from kindergarten through college, rather than wait for someone else to come up with a solution. Local education leaders, area-elected officials and Tulsa residents will be invited to be part of the dialogue. We must find a way to put ourselves in a position to act and establish the best educational system that we can.

For our third significant initiative, we will tackle one of the city’s less-known problems: long wait times for building plans to be reviewed and construction permits issued. Currently, initial plan reviews take an average of five weeks for those who are trying to invest in our city. That number will be reduced to five days by adding five plan reviewers, making available self-certification and third-party plan review programs, and modernizing internal permitting processes.

I hope you share my excitement for the path Tulsa is on right now. Please know in Tulsa, people still matter more than partisanship. I ask you to join me in advancing our community on behalf of the people we love. For the full 2018 State of the City address, visit:

Updated 01-17-2019

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