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February 7, 2013

Regional Transit Dialogue committee considering funding

NORMAN — Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett asked the Regional Transit Dialogue Steering Committee (RTD) if there is a consensus that one agency should be responsible for all metro rail and buses.

Citylink in Edmond is one of the service providers that offers transit in the metro area. A question to answer is whether a Regional Transit Authority would contract with current service providers or offer to provide transit itself, Douglas Rex of ACOG said at a recent RTD meeting.

Three rail corridors are suggested in the study, including a link to the $120 million modern street car system being constructed with an intermodal hub in downtown Oklahoma City. RTD calls for the hub to link Edmond, Norman, Midwest City and Tinker Air Force Base.

Edmond City Councilwoman Victoria Caldwell said the City of Edmond knows two federal funding sources for Citylink will be going away.

“So now is kind of the time to be looking at how we are going to replace that funding,” Caldwell said.

The 2012 federal transportation bill changed how allocations are being made. The formula based on regional density works against the Oklahoma City metroplex, Rex said.

“We don’t have a lot of ridership when compared to some of the larger cities,” he said.

University of Central Oklahoma Vice President Steve Kreidler said that the City of Edmond Downtown Master Plan takes into account a possible railroad station being studied for an area south of Edmond Road and east of Broadway. The city already owns property on Third Street, including a police storage facility, parking lot and the former Edmond Senior Center.

Learning from MAPS: Scientific polling of the metro community would help identify public interest in the project, said Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

“The political animal that is involved here is equally compelling and important to the actual building of all this stuff,” Cornett said.

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