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August 17, 2013

ODOT hosts hearings for train

OKLAHOMA CITY — Norman, Moore, Oklahoma City and Edmond residents were all abuzz with questions at the last of three hearings hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation this Thursday in Oklahoma City’s Metro Technology Centers.

Each of the ODOT hearings have been open house in style, allowing Oklahomans to obtain information by asking questions and speaking with ODOT employees about the $3 million Federal Railroad Administration grant funding the study of a possible Tulsa-Oklahoma City corridor.

David Streb, ODOT’s director of engineering, said the main purpose of the hearings was to let people know the Tulsa-Oklahoma City Corridor Investment Plan’s process.

An intensive analysis, the plan will not be complete until 2015 and will look at environmental impact as well as answer questions, including why people travel, where people travel and if Oklahoman residents would benefit from and utilize a passenger train.

Although the idea of a rail corridor between Tulsa and Oklahoma City is not new, this study will answer specific questions and allow ODOT to make a recommendation to the state based on cost and cultural and environmental impacts.

“This is the first time ODOT will be able to look at how a Tulsa-OKC corridor would impact our natural resources and communities along the proposed rail line,” Streb said.

Some of the hearing’s participants, like three-year Oklahoma City resident Alana Wood, were curious to find out if action would be taken and if a commuter rail system could become a reality.

“I came out tonight because I want to see what they have to offer. I use public transit pretty often. I’ve taken the train from Oklahoma to Texas, and I would like to take a train from OKC to Tulsa,” Wood said.

Fellow Oklahoma City resident Nathan Wood agreed with her statement and said he would like to go to Tulsa for concerts or to Oklahoma City for basketball games by train. Both Alana and Nathan agreed that a rail line could open more possibilities for commuter travel, such as the addition of streetcars.

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