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State shouldn't sell potential transportation link

Published: February 12, 2014

Regarding “Four companies submit bids for Del City-Sapulpa rail line” (Tulsa World, Feb. 6): The state of Oklahoma owns a rail line connecting the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas. Like the roads and the turnpikes, it’s an important state transportation asset that should be managed to benefit the common good. A proposal is on the table from a private business to start up scheduled rail service between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, with as many as eight trains per day. This isn’t a subsidized Amtrak proposal. It's old-fashioned private rail enterprise. Travelers could leisurely read email, talk with friends and have a meal or a drink while traveling. It might take a little longer to get there than by car, but they avoid the hassles and stress of driving a 200-mile round trip.

The company has scheduled excursion trains to coincide with Thunder games. Those trains are sold out even though the prices are higher than the tickets would be if scheduled service begins. Unfortunately, the state Department of Transportation proposes that we sell this critical transportation asset to a freight railroad. If this happens, any possibility of non-subsidized passenger rail service will be gone because the freight railroad isn't interested in working with passenger rail companies. Selling this railroad track is a mistake. This track must be managed to benefit the common good, just like the highways and turnpikes.

Bob Waldrop, Oklahoma City


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