MIDWEST CITY — City council members are being asked to support expanding passenger rail service from Oklahoma City to Kansas, including a leg that would bring Midwest City residents to downtown Oklahoma City.
The council is scheduled to consider the resolution at its meeting at 7:15 p.m. today in city hall, 100 Midwest Blvd. About 30 cities have already endorsed the plan to extend the Amtrak passenger rail north to include Wichita and Newton, Kan. Supporters say the move would enhance Amtrak's existing Heartland Flyer rail service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas. Midwest City's resolution of support also includes exploring the creation of a commuter rail service that would take residents to Bricktown and possibly Will Rogers World Airport, said Bob Kemper, legislative director for the Northern Flyer line. "The days of Oklahoma as a happy motor- ing utopia is going to end,” Kemper said. "The public is clamoring for good, affordable public transportation.” Kemper said a line to Bricktown already exists but is in need of costly refurbishing. There is not immediate funding available, but there are future opportunities for federal assistance, he said. Midwest City Manager Guy Henson said a study conducted in recent years has identified that an area at Midwest Boulevard and SE 15 would be ideal for a light rail platform. There would be ample room for parking and space to build a platform, he said. "Public transportation is becoming more and more important as the cost of gas goes up,” Henson said. "We're going to look at everything we can do to make commuting more efficient for people in our city.”
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An Amtrak conductor casts a shadow on the train while waiting for boarding to begin on the Amtrak Heartland Flyer at the Oklahoma City station. Midwest City Council today will consider a resolution supporting extension of Heartland Flyer service north to Kansas. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER
Also on tonight's agendaThe Midwest City Council will consider: •Approving a tentative labor contract with the local police union. •Approving an agreement with C.H Guernsey & Co. to prepare a trails master plan and implementation study for $100,000. The state Department of Transportation will pay for 80 percent of the study.