Gary Ridley to retire as head of Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, ODOT
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Saturday, December 22, 2012
12/22/12 at 5:16 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - Gary Ridley will retire as director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in March, Gov. Mary Fallin's office announced Friday.
He will retain his Cabinet post as Fallin's transportation secretary.
"I will certainly be keeping my hand in the mix on transportation issues statewide," he said.
Ridley has worked with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for 44 years. He was appointed ODOT director in August 2001.
He became former Gov. Brad Henry's transportation secretary in May 2009, and in October of that year he was tapped to lead the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
"No one has done more for transportation in Oklahoma than Gary Ridley," Fallin said. Since his start as an equipment operator for ODOT in the 1960s, "Gary has impressed his colleagues with his professionalism, work ethic and dedication to high-quality work."
"While he will be sorely missed at ODOT and OTA, he will continue to play an important role in improving our transportation infrastructure in his position in my Cabinet," the governor said.
Ridley, 67, said both agencies are well-positioned for the future.
"Forty-four years with the department is a long time, but it has been very rewarding," he said.
Ridley said he has no plans to get another job and wants to spend time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
"As you know, these types of positions take a lot out of a person," he said. "I think being part of both agencies takes a lot of time and effort. I would never have contemplated leaving if I didn't think things were in good hands."
Ridley worked with the Legislature to pass several landmark pieces of legislation to improve transportation funding.
During his tenure, the number of bad bridges in the state has been reduced, and safety features such as life-saving cable barriers have been installed on highways.
"I really do think transportation for the future is bright in Oklahoma," Ridley said.
Former Transportation Secretary Neal McCaleb praised Ridley's service.
"The progress the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has made under his watch has truly been remarkable, and all Oklahomans owe a debt of gratitude to the exemplary job Gary Ridley has done," said McCaleb, president of Transportation Revenues Used Strictly for Transportation, or TRUST.
McCaleb also previously led ODOT and the Turnpike Authority.
Original Print Headline: Ridley to retire as head of Turnpike Authority, ODOT
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465
Gary Ridley: "I would never have contemplated leaving if I didn't think things were in good hands," said the director, who started as an equipment operator for the state Transportation Department in the 1960s