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Flight of fancy: Can we afford high-speed rail?

Flight of fancy: Can we afford high-speed rail?

Published: March 25, 2009



High-speed passenger rail between Oklahoma City and Tulsa? When pigs fly first class!

We hate to put the kibosh on this caboose, but we doubt most Oklahomans want to spend up to $2 billion for a line connecting the state’s two largest cities at up to 150 miles per hour.


The idea has plenty of appeal, especially given that the Turner Turnpike has become a trackless high-speed line on which slower drivers had best watch their rearview mirrors.

Still, the tracks between the capital city and Tulsa aren’t equipped for fast trains. Billions would need to be spent to make it work; that amount doesn’t include continuing operation subsidies.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett says it’s more important to connect the city with Dallas. We’re already connected, via Amtrak, with Fort Worth. Extending Heartland Flyer service into southern Kansas makes sense because it would allow connections with major east-west routes.

The state subsidizes the Heartland Flyer, a practice that hasn’t gone over well in Tulsa and, frankly, among many Oklahomans who will never take the train. We don’t oppose the Tulsa connection in principle. In practice, the cost seems to be a trestle too far.

Perhaps we need a Harry Reid to engineer this project. For years, the Senate majority leader has been pushing high-speed rail between Anaheim, Calif. (Disneyland) and Las Vegas (Dizzy Land). Reid’s got the clout to get it done, regardless of the fact that 99 percent of Americans would never catch that train.

1 comment (Add your own)

1. TulsaGEM wrote:
Why does passenger sevice between Tulsa & OKC have to be 150 mph?.
Upgrading the raillines between Tulsa and OKC to simply handle passenger service
would not only be benefit pasenger service, but also benefit freight service since they would use the same railline. As I understand it now the freight service is now limited to a maximum speed it can travel due to the condition of the raillines between Tulsa & OKC.
Upgrading the raillines for passenger service would not only benefit Tulsa & OKC but many towns between Tulsa & OKC by offering them passenger service and faster freight service.
Let's get the railline conditions between all major Oklahoma cities up to the same level (which would ALL Oklahoman's), before we shoot for ANY 150 mph upgrade of any railline in Oklahoma (which would only benefit a few).

Thu, March 26, 2009 @ 9:05 AM

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