The Kilpatrick Turnpike

About a mile from my house one finds the Kilpatrick Turnpike. You might wonder who this toll road was named after. A successful inventor? An Olympic athlete? A war hero?

At first I couldn’t find an answer, as the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority doesn’t give any information on whom Oklahoma’s eight turnpikes are named after.

What I did find there was that the turnpikes won’t be paid off until 2028. Better get used to paying those tolls! Also, the public’s debt is spread across all of the roads, so tolls won’t end on any of these roads until all eight are paid off. But then the poor turnpike officials would lose their jobs! We can’t have that! Oh well, all they have to do is construct yet another expensive highway to ensure that the tolls keep flowing.

After that little realization I finally found the answer to my original question within this 2002 USENET post:

Kilpatrick Turnpike – named for OKC oilman and philathropist[sic] John Kilpatrick.

Sounds pretty good, right? Until you realize that Kilpatrick was the director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority around the time that the road was proposed. He named it after himself! Oh boy!

Reading more into that post, I discovered that Turner Turnpike was named for former Oklahoma governor Roy J. Turner, whose claim to fame was establishing the turnpike system itself. And another major turnpike is named for H. E. Bailey, who among other things was, of course, a member of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

I wish that when the roads are set up to perpetually take tolls from the people, that their names would at least recognize someone who might inspire the populace to do things other than set up more regulations, taxes, and tolls.

Author: Grant Hutchins

Ruby developer at Pivotal Labs Electronic musician

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