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Light Rail Design Contract Submitted to MAPS Board

Charolette Aiken Published: September 26, 1996


A contract for preliminary engineering and design services for a $16 million light rail system was forwarded Wednesday to the Metropolitan Area Projects advisory board for consideration today.

The MAPS Citizens Oversight Board is expected to recommend approval of the proposal and send it on to the Oklahoma City Council for consideration next week.

Funds to pay for a $407,800 contract for Huitt-Zollars Inc. to design the system will come from community development block grants and federal grants, said Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority Director Randy Hume.

Huitt-Zollars engineers will design the rail portion of the system, which will be located in an area bounded by Reno Avenue on the south, Walnut Avenue on the east, NW 6 on the north and Hudson Avenue on the west.

Even though $3 million in MAPS sales tax revenue collections was set aside for the rail system project, the money cannot be spent until there are enough federal funds available to pay for 50 percent of total costs.

Two weeks ago, the rail plan, a key element in the $297 million MAPS plan, garnered a $2 million allocation in federal funds from a joint House-Senate Appropriations committee. That sum fell significantly short of the $13 million requested, Hume said.

Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Warr Acres, told the appropriations committee chairman that the Oklahoma City plan was not cost-effective and that, Hume said, was the reason for the small allocation.

Hume told members of the MAPS transportation committee on Wednesday that "the door is not closed yet," on federal funding and that COTPA and other city officials will continue to lobby for additional allocations next year.

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