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August 14, 2013

Tulsa-OKC rail routehearings are planned

NORMAN — The return of students to the University of Oklahoma reminds us of a time when many arrived by passenger train. Students, sailors assigned to the Naval Bases and others arrived and departed from the Norman Depot.

While a few students use the Heartland Flyer between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth these days, we think many more would benefit if a link from Tulsa to Norman were established and if passenger trains could also be linked to Kansas and its east-west routes.

That’s the issue being studied by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Hearings were held Tuesday in Tulsa and today in Stroud. One is planned Thursday in Oklahoma City. Today’s meeting is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Stroud High School. Thursday’s hearing is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Metrotech OQ1 Room at 1900 Springlake Drive in Oklahoma City.

A $3 million Federal Railroad Administration grant is funding a study on the possibility of a Tulsa-Oklahoma City corridor. It is one of 11 high-priority rail corridors to be studied.

The Heartland Flyer, with its once-daily run between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, is a great ride, but unless your travel schedule is extremely flexible, it’s not much more than a tourist train.

At the same time as the ODOT study, representatives of the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments are looking at some kind of light rail line connecting Edmond, downtown Oklahoma City, Norman and Tinker Air Force Base.

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