Here is the release.
Kansas Receives Preliminary Word of FRA Grant Approval for Kansas City – Wichita – Oklahoma City – Fort Worth
Service Development Plan
Northern Flyer Alliance, Inc.
Contact Deborah Fischer Stout
316-262-0148 x 240
Kansas-Oklahoma to Reap Federal High Speed Rail Benefits
Kansas will receive an undisclosed amount, likely $250,000, in federal stimulus funding for a Service Development Plan. The funding will be used to develop the Kansas City – Wichita – Oklahoma City – Fort Worth passenger rail corridor. Oklahoma has promised to match the Kansas fund at $125,000. These grants signal completion of the next step in the process to expand passenger rail operations between Kansas City and Fort Worth. Grant awards are expected to become official later today.
“This is great regional economic news. It reflects the visionary thinking provided by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT),” commented Deborah Fischer Stout, President of the Northern Flyer Alliance, Inc. (NFA). According to Fischer Stout, the KDOT effort began long before the Federal Recovery Act passed in February 2009. KDOT sent its first study request to Amtrak in July, 2007.”
The news comes on the heels of a University of Kansas School of Business economic benefit study which showed a 3:1 tax base increase if Amtrak begins the proposed route. Fischer Stout continued, “The KU study quantifies substantial economic benefit to regional residents and optional transportation for Kansas visitors and citizens. However, these benefits can only be secured if the legislature acts soon.” Kansas Senate Bill SB409, The Kansas Intercity Passenger Rail Development Act will provide a revolving fund for supplemental passenger rail monies. This Act would create a revolving fund for Kansas supplemental passenger rail revenues.
KDOT should next apply for a High Speed Rail Corridor designation between Kansas City, Wichita, and Oklahoma City. This is considered essential to garner consideration for future High Speed Rail federal funding. According to Fischer Stout, “The FRA will award most of the $8 billion available to
many states that were slightly ahead of Kansas planning. High Speed Rail Corridors development is the ultimate USDOT goal for these projects. Kansas is far behind in this arena. We encourage KDOT and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to pursue USDOT Kansas City – Wichita – Oklahoma City High Speed Rail Corridor designation.”
Evan Stair, NFA Oklahoma Vice President is also encouraged by the news, “A short, 200 mile service gap exists between Newton, Kansas and Oklahoma City since Oklahoma started the Heartland Flyer Amtrak route in 1999. We have to remember that this is just the first round. The region has time to secure additional federal funding, even for a route between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.”
The High Speed-Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program is expected to receive ongoing funding similar to that which built the federal interstate highway system. Increasingly volatile energy prices, need for economic development, and increasingly stringent Environmental Protection Agency
policies are driving US High Speed Rail development.
For more information check the Northern Flyer Alliance website frequently http://www.NorthFlyer.org
HSIPR GRANT AWARDS ANNOUNCED
*******KANSAS – OKLAHOMA – TEXAS SDP APPROVED*******