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Oklahoma applies for federal rail funds Capitol

Oklahoma applies for federal rail funds Capitol

Money would be used for high-speed line between city, Tulsa


BY JULIE BISBEE
Published: October 3, 2009

The state Transportation Department has submitted its application for a high-speed rail fund.

The state is competing with other states for stimulus dollars set aside for high-speed rail development. The lengthy application was submitted about 11 p.m. Thursday to the Federal Railroad Administration.
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The Federal Railroad Administration will decide which projects are funded. Agency officials have not set a timeline for their decision, but say it will be after the first of the year.

The state Transportation Department submitted a preliminary application in July. Since then, the department has performed several assessments to accompany the application, including an environmental analysis which includes two public meetings.

The Transportation Department is seeking funds for a high-speed rail line between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The money also would be used to improve the track between Oklahoma City and the Texas state line.

That section of track is being used by the Heartland Flyer. Improvements would include rail crossing safety upgrades, a passing track, a double track from Oklahoma City to Norman and switch improvement along the route.

The route is part of the nationally designated South Central High-Speed Rail Corridor.

The cost of proposed high-speed rail improvements for the entire Oklahoma route is estimated to be about $2 billion.

Top speeds on the Heartland Flyer route between Oklahoma City and the Texas state line would be 90 mph, with an average speed of more than 60 mph.

Top speeds between downtown Oklahoma City and downtown Tulsa would be more than 150 mph, with an average speed of more than 110 mph. Construction could start as early as 2010 and would take at least six years to complete.

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