The Norman Transcript

Opinion

August 25, 2013

ODOTrail project too costly and unnecessary

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) is not helpful to public transportation in Oklahoma. It is and has been a Dept. of Highways, even as fuel for automobiles is being depleted globally and the price of automotive fuel is rising irregularly.

ODOT is currently engaged in several costly and unnecessary highway projects in and near Norman. ODOT has an annual budget of about $1.7 billion, some of which is wasted by ODOT.

Now ODOT offers a ridiculous recommendation regarding establishment of passenger rail service between two of Oklahoma’s principal cities, Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

The rail line for this already exists, and it already carries occasional freight.

Instead of using this existing rail line, as a cost that has already been seriously proposed at $50 million, the Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation proposes a brand new rail line capable of carrying trains at high speed, as a cost of about $2 billion.

ODOT is following a fairly well established axiom: If you are not really in favor of a proposal, then propose it in a ridiculous way, so that the proposal is opposed although the core of the proposal may be favored. This is indeed the nature of ODOT’s present proposal.

Recognize that there are several towns between Tulsa that would not be served under ODOT’s proposal.

Second, The ODOT proposal is far too costly, especially in view of far less costly alternatives.

Third, the high speed portion of ODOT’s proposal is wholly unnecessary, since the cities are only about 110 miles apart, and two hours on the train is the same as required by automobile and is not an excessive amount of time.

The train passenger can work as he rides, if he wishes to do so. 

ODOT should be forbidden to sell the tracks between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, and beyond.

They are presently owned by the State of Oklahoma.

Passenger service on the railroad tracks between Tulsa and Oklahoma City could have been provided years ago, and should be established forthwith.

EDWIN KESSLER

Norman

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