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Railing again: Train zealots never tire of complaining

Railing again: Train zealots never tire of complaining

This article first appeared in The Oklahoman.
The Oklahoman Editorial
Published: May 4, 2009

Some of the things said about the Oklahoma Department of Transportation by promoters of rail travel are really humorous. Not real accurate, but plenty entertaining.

Last week the area’s chief rail zealot, Tom Elmore, was howling again about how train lovers are being worked over by ODOT as a result of the realignment of the Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway. The refrain has gone on for years.

Elmore commented about a 1-mile stretch of non-operational railway line that’s in the path of the highway project. A federal agency is weighing whether the line should be removed. Elmore hopes it isn’t. He says doing so would disrupt an east-west path that ties southwestern Oklahoma to eastern parts of the state. "Why would the highway department try to destroy the state’s rail center?” he said. "... Why is ODOT trying to rip the center out from our railway work?”

This same agency, of course, has held scores of meetings with rail representatives and enthusiasts through the years, and has spent $60 million on rail improvements in the area near Union Station. ODOT has already paid to relocate a line currently in use, at the request of the rail company, as part of the project.

The train buffs don’t care about any of that. They don’t care that a delay caused by this issue would set back completion of one of the region’s most important stretches of interstate highway, or that it would only drive up the cost for taxpayers. On the contrary, they’d revel in it. Very funny.

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