OKLAHOMA CITY —
Other hearing participants, like Norman resident Edwin Kessler, are not in favor of the study being conducted by ODOT and want a rail line to be provided for the public immediately.
“Passenger service on the railroad tracks between Tulsa and Oklahoma City could have been provided years ago … the ODOT proposal is far too costly,” Kessler said.
Opinions like Kessler’s are not discouraged and instead are welcomed by ODOT. Because a goal of the rail line study is to learn what Oklahomans think of a high-speed rail and whether they would use such a transportation system, participants at the hearing were given comment cards.
ODOT Public Information Manager Brenda Perry said that as of Thursday’s hearing, comments had not been read, but because the study is so intensive, it is important for ODOT to hear from the public. The ODOT website will allow the public to comment on the Tulsa-Oklahoma City corridor for about one more month.
“Public feedback is important for future meetings and the direction of the study,” Perry said.
Until those future meetings with the public, Joe Gurskis, principal consultant for consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, said the next step in the study is to conduct an alternative analysis to determine alternatives like that of engineering alternatives and rail line routes.
The close of Thursday’s rail line hearing was really the beginning for Oklahoma residents — a chance for residents to learn what a Tulsa-Oklahoma City corridor could mean for themselves and their families and understand that although ODOT may not have answers tomorrow, the million-dollar study may open the possibility for further connection within the state.