Street Con­struc­tion Task Force Mem­bers

Tulsa World - - Datelines - By Kevin Can­field Kevin Can­field 918-645-5452 kevin.can­field @tul­saworld.com Twit­ter: @aWorld­ofKC

The man charged with lead­ing a new task force to study how the city can more quickly and ef­fi­ciently do street con­struc­tion projects said Tues­day that he has no pre­con­ceived ideas about how that might be ac­com­plished.

“We need to let the process dic­tate the so­lu­tion,” said Gary Ri­d­ley, for­mer state sec­re­tary of trans­porta­tion.

That process kicked off of­fi­cially Tues­day with the an­nounce­ment of the 11 task force mem­bers — City Coun­cilor Phil Lakin and 10 pri­vate cit­i­zens.

The group has rep­re­sen­ta­tives of churches, pub­lic schools and lo­cal busi­nesses, in­clud­ing Amer­i­can Air­lines, Day­light Donuts and QuikTrip Corp. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Ok­la­homa De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion will also be part of the task force.

The task force is ex­pected to de­liver its re­port in the spring. But first, Ri­d­ley said, the group needs to lis­ten to what the pub­lic has to say about how the city builds and re­pairs its streets.

“Un­til we hear from the

Mayor G.T. By­nun an­nounced the mem­bers of his blue-rib­bon task force on street con­struc­tion Tues­day:

Gary Ri­d­ley, for­mer state sec­re­tary of trans­porta­tion, chair­man; Phil Lakin, city coun­cilor; Stacey Brown, Jarod Men­dez, Anne Keller, Pete Re­gan, Lindy Risen­hoover, Padre Sa­muel, Todd Sax­ton, Hal Walker, and Bill White.

cit­i­zens, you re­ally don't know what other prob­lems there may be,” Ri­d­ley said.

The streets task force was one of sev­eral ini­tia­tives Mayor G.T. Bynum an­nounced in his re­cent State of the City ad­dress. He also is ex­pected to an­nounce soon the mem­bers of a parks com­mis­sion to study how the city and county can bet­ter align their ser­vices.

The tim­ing of the task force is im­por­tant, Bynum said in a pre­pared state­ment, be­cause vot­ers will be asked to fund more street work next year.

“As we an­tic­i­pate the con­tin­u­a­tion of the city's decade-long fo­cus on street re­pairs with a gen­eral obli­ga­tion bond re­newal in 2018, I am ea­ger for this group to lend their ex­per­tise in im­prov­ing the ef­fi­ciency of our street projects city­wide,” Bynum said.

Lakin said one of the is­sues he will be in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing is whether the city's En­gi­neer­ing Ser­vices De­part­ment is prop­erly manned.

“I con­tinue to feel a lot of our city de­part­ments are un­der­staffed,” Lakin said.

Ri­d­ley, who does not live in Tulsa, said the street prob­lems Tulsa is fac­ing are not un­usual.

Ri­d­ley said he hopes Tul­sans un­der­stand that gov­ern­ment, whether on the state or lo­cal level, re­ally tries to get it right when it comes to road work.

“And every once in a while, you have to stop and take no­tice to where you are at,” he said. “Af­ter all, it's their (the pub­lic's) money you're spend­ing.”

Tulsa has 4,500 lane miles of streets across the city. To track progress of the city's street projects, go to im­proveour­tulsa.com.

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