Legislators gamble on bond plan

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Leaders say they rescued a so-so state legislative session by approving a $475 million bond issue to fix roads and bridges and address other needs.

While it may be a gamble to borrow money in the face of declining revenues, many lawmakers and Gov. Brad Henry say it is a risk worth taking because of the poor condition of highways and bridges and other factors.

Henry points to favorable bond market conditions and says the cost of low interest payments will save money in the long run because it is lower than annual, double-digit increases in road construction materials.

Besides a $300 million bond plan for roads, lawmakers approved $100 million in bonds for endowed chairs at universities and $75 million in bonds for the American Indian Cultural Center, flood control projects and work on dams and bridges along the Arkansas River in Tulsa.

Before legislators passed the bond package yesterday, leaders had listed approval of a standstill $7.1 billion budget in April as their top accomplishment of the session.

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