The Norman Transcript

Opinion

November 19, 2013

Back to the future

NORMAN — The old Interurban trolley system that ran between Norman and Oklahoma City and connected to Guthrie and El Reno lines was used by thousands of central Oklahoma residents. Tulsa had some street railways, too, as did Lawton and other cities.

The Norman to OKC line ended in 1947. The end of the war meant gasoline rationing was over. Roads were improved, and the country’s affluence meant automobiles were affordable.

More than 60 years later, public transit is coming back in fashion. The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments is looking for input from potential passengers for three proposed transit lines.

The Norman to Oklahoma City line would be the longest at 17 miles. A second would connect downtown to Midwest City and Tinker Air Force Base, and a third would serve Edmond residents. Some have suggested a link to Will Rogers World Airport.

A public hearing Monday night at the Moore Norman Technology Center drew about as many paid consultants and staff members as residents. It’s a multi-million dollar proposal that could transform central Oklahoma.

Consultants and ACOG staff want to know what community residents want in the way of transit. Do we want light rail on separate tracks, a commuter line that could co-exist with freight trains or a series of express buses? We think a combination of the options may be the best solution.

Another hearing was hosted Tuesday. A third will be at 4:30 this afternoon at ACOG headquarters in Oklahoma City, and a fourth will be at 6 p.m. Thursday in Edmond at the Downtown Community Center Auditorium.

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