Trains For America

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More Oklahoma happenings

You won’t like the punch line on this one, but the man has a point. The heartland Flyer meeting happened down in OKC last week and it got some coverage, even down in Texas. One serious-minded Kansas lawmaker showed up, which is very good.

“If we’re going to spend money, we’re going to have to see that it’s going to benefit our state,” said Kansas Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield. “It can’t be anecdotal, it needs to be hard facts.”
He attended the meeting so he can see if Oklahoma legislators are serious about the project before he pursues it further in Kansas.

Three Oklahoma legislators attended the meeting, which included Collins, Rep. Al Lindley, D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City. Trimmer said he wants to look at funding a survey of the project before considering appropriating money to support the rail service.

Stair believes the project can create economic development in the areas served by the train.

Maybe (the train) would bring more (people) into the area, rested and ready to spend money,” he said. He also sees the project as a way to relieve some congestion on the roads and help the environment by producing fewer emissions.

James said it is also important to add more departure times for the trains in order to get more ridership or else it just becomes a tourist train. He said making sure there are ways to get from the train stations to a final destination, such as by bus or rental car, is essential to growing interest.

Community interest is what Collins believes is essential in order to put pressure on Legislatures to keep the trains running through funding. He said that will mean educating people and changing their views of trains.

“Right now, my personal view of the Heartland Flyer is an excursion train, like the train around Six Flags, it just happens to be 200 miles long,” he said. If the route is expanded, “then it truly becomes an interstate viable method of transportation.”

He is talking about a true “corridor” and more fequent departures. That is real transportation and it makes sense.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

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