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Heartland Flyer loses more than $43 per rider in 2012, report finds

Despite losing $2.7 million last year, the Heartland Flyer, which connects Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas, performs better than many Amtrak routes connecting major cities.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: March 2, 2013

The Brookings report highlights Oklahoma's 50/50 split with Texas as an example of how states support certain routes. Only one other route has such an arrangement: the Hiawatha, which is shared 25/75 by Illinois and Wisconsin.

Fifteen states contributed to the funding of Amtrak routes between 2007-2011, the report found. Oklahoma ranked 13th by contributing $8.8 million.

State support will be critical when a new requirement for states to financially support short-distance corridors takes effect Oct. 1, he said, adding that the Heartland Flyer wouldn't exist without support from the state.

Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman, said because the Heartland Flyer will no longer be eligible for federal funding, the cost of operating the route will have to be absorbed by Oklahoma and Texas. Amtrak kicks in an average of 20 percent of the Heartland Flyer's operating cost each year.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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