Evan Stair passed this along. His perspective involves the corridor from Kansas City to Fort Worth. The possible “breakthrough” is that Tulsa and Oklahoma City are not seeing each other as competitors. It does not have to be “either-or.”
In fact, it makes a lot of sense to develop both the proposed extension of the Heartland Flyer and a service from Oklahoma City to Tulsa. The latter line extends to Springfield and St. Lous. It adds many additional “dots” to the map and a world of “connectivity.”
Fort Worth provides connections to the Eagle, which connects to the Sunset. St. Louis connects to Illinois. The Heartland Flyer connects to a completely different set of town running to Illinois. The effect of implementing the plan would be to complete a mind-grid. It would be a network of schedules to places people want to go.
Again, this would employ conventional style equipment and existing improved right-of-way. This makes sense.
Anyway, here is the item from Evan.
Inroads or “Inrails” to Tulsa AND Wichita
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the Stimulus Bill, provides Tulsa passenger rail supporters with new hope. This routing was once considered nearly impossible due to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) estimated $110 million infrastructure upgrade cost for the curvaceous rail route from Oklahoma City. If Tulsa area legislators work fast, the stimulus bill could bring passenger rail back to the state’s second largest metropolis sooner than later.
High Speed Rail Plans and funding requests must be filed by the USDOT Secretary by April 18th. This will require Oklahoma state legislators to pressure ODOT quickly to submit their high speed rail plans. Return USDOT guidance, grant terms, conditions, procedures… must be provided to applicants by June 17th.
The numbers are enticing: $850 million will be provided to Amtrak in government grants for capital projects with $8 billion for capital grants for High Speed Rail corridors. This could bring not only a passenger rail route through Wichita to Kansas City but also a route to Tulsa from Oklahoma City. ODOT was out in front during the early portion of this decade, requesting and receiving high speed rail corridor designation between Tulsa – Oklahoma City – Fort Worth. This is one leg of three in the USDOT South Central High Speed Rail Corridor. The other two legs are Fort Worth – Little Rock and Fort Worth – Austin – San Antonio.
The time is now to bring passenger rail back to the state. The question is can lawmakers and ODOT work fast enough to make it happen?
Federal Rail Safety Improvements Public Law 110-432 October 16, 2008
Federal Register Solicitation of Applications and Notice of Funding Availability for the Capital Assistance to States — Intercity Passenger Rail Program
High Speed Rail Request for Expressions of Interest