Sunday, August 20, 2006

More Amtrak extensions

Amtrak expansion is in the air, led (I'd like to think) by the Illinois General Assembly who doubled service in Illinois this year.

This article details how Tulsa would like Amtrak service. I found this bit the most interesting:

The fact is, Dowty said, Tulsa is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the United States without passenger rail service, following Las Vegas; Nashville; Columbus, Ohio; and Louisville, Ky
If you consider Nashville and Louisville as Midwestern cities, that means of the top five cities without Amtrak service, three (or four if you stretch to include Tulsa) are in the Midwest.

We need to spend transportation dollars on upgrading track. And potentially laying some new track.

A healthy rail network is a smart economic investment and we're not making enough of one now.

Here is the start of the article:

With plane travel becoming more of a hassle due to terrorism security measures, traffic congestion getting worse and gas prices still climbing, City Councilor Rick Westcott believes Tulsa should aggressively pursue passenger rail service.

Westcott plans to make a presentation to the council Tuesday in support of a resolution requesting the Oklahoma Legislature try to join Missouri in a federal Amtrak expansion study.

"It will probably take years to get something done, but we need to kick start these discussions now," said the Republican, who represents District 2.

"We need to see what the cost is, what the benefits would be and what the public wants to do. I think the timing is right to really go after this."

The Missouri Department of Transportation in June requested that Amtrak look at extending service from St. Louis to Springfield. Westcott wants the study to also explore extending the line on to Tulsa.

"If we had a connection to St. Louis, we would be part of the national system and could go anywhere in the country," he said, adding that it would also bring visitors and work commuters from outlying communities to Tulsa.


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