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Budget & Tax

Curtis Shelton | June 19, 2024

A look at transportation spending

Curtis Shelton

Continuing our series on the 10 largest state agencies brings us to number four on the list, the Department of Transportation. As a reminder, the top 10 are as follows:

  1. Department of Education
  2. Oklahoma Health Care Authority
  3. Regents for Higher Education
  4. Department of Transportation
  5. Department of Human Services
  6. Department of Corrections
  7. Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  8. Department of Career and Technology Education
  9. Department of Public Safety
  10. Office of Management and Enterprise Services

Since 2003, appropriations to the Department of Transportation have grown by 99 percent making it the fastest-growing agency in the top 10. However, this growth comes with a caveat.

Sources: Oklahoma Annual Comprehensive Financial ReportsOklahoma House of Representatives Fiscal SummarySB1125 Fiscal Summary; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CPI Inflation Calculator

HB 2895, passed in 2021, changed the ROADS fund from apportioned (think off-the-top) funds to appropriated funds. This resulted in an additional $395 million being added to the Transportation’s appropriated amount in fiscal year 2021. You can see from the spike in the graph above when this additional money hit the Department's coffers. That amount has grown to $590 million for the current fiscal year. Apart from the ROADS funding, appropriations have remained relatively stable with a modest increase in the last few years. Data from the Oklahoma Board of Equalization show that without the ROADS funding, Department of Transportation appropriations have grown from $187 million to $411 million between fiscal years 2022 and 2024, not adjusted for inflation. 

Curtis Shelton Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton

Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton currently serves as a policy research fellow for OCPA with a focus on fiscal policy. Curtis graduated Oklahoma State University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Arts in Finance. Previously, he served as a summer intern at OCPA and spent time as a staff accountant for Sutherland Global Services.

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