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AFR Supports Roads and Bridges Funding

In the closing days of the 2012 session of the Oklahoma Legislature, American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR) partnered with the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma (ACCO) to pass transportation legislation that will enhance funding for rural roads and bridges across the state.

“I would like to thank the Oklahoma State Legislature for giving HB 2249 final passage on May 24, 2012, said AFR President Terry Detrick. “This legislation, authored by Rep. T.W. Shannon and Sen. Bryce Marlatt, will increase funding for county roads and bridges by directing an additional five percent of revenue, derived from vehicle license and registration fees, from the General Revenue Fund of the State Treasury to the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges (CIRB) Fund.”

“Oklahoma farmers and ranchers depend on rural and county roads and bridges as they produce our food. Those same roads and bridges are necessary for consumers to receive the food. Therefore, the agriculture industry and consumers alike rely heavily on the quality of Oklahoma’s rural infrastructure, and HB 2249 is important to ensuring the state’s structurally-deficient bridges – most of them rural – are repaired or replaced.”

After a three year stair-stepped phase-in, HB 2249 will ultimately result in 20 percent of state vehicle license and registration revenue being sent to the CIRB Fund. In addition to other lobbying activities to increase roads and bridges funding, AFR, along with other state agriculture organizations, supported ACCO’s efforts by adding their organization name to a letter distributed to legislators.

“It demonstrates again the power of partnerships and working together to accomplish those things that often times we are not able to achieve individually,” Detrick said. “As we in rural Oklahoma increasingly become a minority in the Legislature, we must continually cultivate opportunities which can be mutually beneficial.”

At the request of AFR, ACCO representatives briefed the AFR 2012 Policy Committee about this and other potential mechanisms to increase funding for rural roads and bridges. AFR legislative policy, adopted by local and county delegates to the annual convention, is very supportive of funding for county road and bridge improvements.

AFR participated in a bill signing ceremony for the legislation with Governor Mary Fallin on at the Oklahoma State Capitol on June 4.

American Farmers & Ranchers was established in 1905, and is headquartered in Oklahoma City. AFR is actively supportive of Oklahoma’s agricultural industry and rural population, and provides educational, legislative, and cooperative programs across the state. AFR also provides insurance products statewide, and is recognized as a leading domestic insurance carrier in the state of Oklahoma.