The building of public infrastructure is big business and in Oklahoma, the desire to build a $5 billion turnpike expansion project was greater than the desire to do it legally and transparently. That ruling came through the courts on December 1st, and it was ugly. The finding was that the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority had “willfully violated” the state’s open meeting laws.
Why does it matter in Minot? The process through which government agencies and their consultants take projects from conception to completion is similar across states. And when the ‘incentives’ to complete the work outweigh the ‘need’ to complete the work or the voice of the citizens, we get ugly results.
Get the full story on what happened in Oklahoma from StongTowns.org. It includes the details of a state agency going so far as to buy up potential website domain names (ex. StopTheTurnPike.com) that could have been used to organize against the project before the project was even announced. How long do you suppose it will be before anyone trusts the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority again?