U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announces $10m grant to reconnect part of West Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. — U.S. Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined local leaders to announce a $10 million grant from the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help reconnect a part of West Tulsa that has been cut off by the highway for decades.

With the construction underway on Highway 75 and I-44 in the background, Secretary Buttigieg announced that $10 million will be used to reconstruct West 51st Street to neighborhoods in West Tulsa that were divided when U.S. Highway 75 was built. It’s an area that had been cut off since it was built in the 1950s.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg and State Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz joined Buttigieg for the announcement.

When asked how long the project would take and if it would still meet the needs of the people when it’s finished, Buttigieg said those decisions would be made locally.

“I don’t want to get ahead of the local folks,” Buttigieg said, “I’ll tell you as a department, we want to see those dollars move as quickly as we responsibly can. Of course, you got to go through all the checks and balances. It’s taxpayer money we’re talking about. Now, we wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t put together a very strong application that gives us confidence in their ability to deliver and deliver swiftly.”

It is unknown when the project will start or how long it will take, but the Secretary said the project can be altered to meet the changing infrastructure needs.

Many of those who came to hear the announcement applauded Tuesday’s announcement to un-do the past and reconnect neighborhoods in West Tulsa that had been divided by an expressway.

Tulsa was one of the secretary’s first stops in his 6-state tour. From Tulsa, he will go to Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada and New Hampshire through Friday as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Building a Better America” Tour.