Oklahoma lawmakers pushed through two, $150 million capital bond issues to address roads and bridges in the waning hours of the legislative session this spring.

The bonds will allow Oklahoma transportation planners to stay with their eight year funding plan. The debt service will be paid with a portion of the annual growth in motor vehicle fees.

It'll make a dent in Oklahoma's needed improvements but in the national scheme of things, it's a raindrop in a large lake. The American Society of Engineers estimates that bringing the nation's transportation infrastructure up to a properly functional level would cost $1.6 trillion.

The local leaders -- our nation's mayors -- are closest to the problems. They dropped their wish lists at the doors of Congress last week, hoping for some more federal help for their deteriorating infrastructures.

The mayors were testifying at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on a possible solution to the problem. Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., are floating a bill to create a National Infrastructure Bank which could raise money for improvements by issuing up to $60 billion in tax credit bonds.

One other notion floated by the mayors and others is the idea of Congress abandoning the traditional earmark spending. Lawmakers use earmarks to bring home money to their districts. It's often based on seniority and political tradeoffs, not prioritized needs.

The years of neglect by state, local and national governments are catching up. Oklahoma is taking the right step by viewing the expenses as long-term investments and not yearly budget items.

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