NORMAN — Norman city council members voted Tuesday night to join a growing number of metro communities backing a resolution asking Gov. Brad Henry to appoint a special commission to study rail transit options in the Oklahoma City metro area and to weigh alternate routes for the Crosstown Expressway.
The resolution is being sponsored by Oklahomans for New Transportation Alternative Coalition, a grassroots organization dedicated to saving the Oklahoma City rail yard.
Marion Hutchinson, communications director for OnTrac, said the current design plan for rerouting the I-40 Crosstown Expressway would remove rail space and infrastructure that could serve as the hub of a commuter rail system. The group says it would like to save Oklahoma City's Union Station and rail yard.
Norman, as well as all metro cities and towns, would benefit from a commuter rail system, Hutchinson said. OnTrac representatives are approaching metro cities and towns to gain support for saving the rail yard so such a system could be developed.
Rising fuel costs and public demand for safe, reliable, inexpensive and cost-effective transportation options make the time right to push for developing a hub at Union Station, Hutchinson said. Hutchinson spoke at Tuesday's council meeting to persuade Norman to vote for OnTrac's resolution.
El Reno and Chickasha already have voted to support the plan, he said.