The Norman Transcript

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February 7, 2013

Regional Transit Dialogue committee considering funding

(Continued)

NORMAN —

When considering the history of MAPS, Cornett said MAPS and MAPS 3 were streamlined approaches involving a sales tax to rejuvenate downtown Oklahoma City.

“It was real easy to communicate and decide yes or no. This reminds me more of MAPS for Kids,” Cornett said.

City leaders had to unite school boards and principals of 24 school districts, Cornett said.

There will be opposition to anything that requires taxation, Cornett said, so the project will require tremendous consensus building. Buses, but no rail lines, run throughout northwest Oklahoma City, he said. RTD is considering bus systems feeding into rail.

Setting goals: “In the end you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to govern it and how you’re going to pay for it,” Hutchison said.

“I would suggest that there’s probably a question you have to ask before that — whether you want to do it at all,” Rex said. “Part of the work we’ll be doing in the next 18 months will help us determine that through surveying tools to get public reaction to what we might end up doing.”

A short-term and a long-term timeline for the project is being studied. The RTD will set goals in areas of governance, legislation, coalition building, finance, public education and marketing, Rex said.

The committee is focusing on creating a Regional Transit Authority. RTA would be represented by elected or appointed officials to develop a plan to operate the transit project.

A ballot issue would be needed to take to voters for a dedicated funding source, Hutchison said. Dedicated funding would allow the expansion of bus systems as well as building a hub with a commuter rail system.

A vision to benefit future generations: Kreidler said city leaders 40 to 60 years ago made visionary decisions that they did not have to make.

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