By Craig Day, News On 6
SAND SPRINGS, OK -- Communities all across Green Country are pushing for a share of President Obama's massive economic stimulus for infrastructure projects.
Sand Springs is adding another item to the list which city leaders hope will get commuter rail service on track.
As part of the city's proposal to gain funds from the economic stimulus package, Sand Springs included a request to begin infrastructure for a future commuter rail service connecting Sand Springs to downtown Tulsa.
"Transportation is economic development. It's public safety and it is quality of life. So it hits all of the buttons," said Doug Enevoldsen, Sand Springs City Manager.
The proposal would restore a second track along the existing Sand Springs Railway right of way. It would also enable the city to find property for a future park and ride facility.
"It causes redevelopment to occur along the lines and areas. It generates activity between both communities," said Enevoldsen.
Until a commuter rail service is developed, the Sand Springs Railway could use the restored tracks to expand its freight service.
The cost to get started is estimated at $5.5 million.
"It's much more expensive to build highways and try to maintain those than it is to use rail," said Enevoldsen.
Overall, $41.5 million in regional commuter rail infrastructure projects in the Tulsa area have been proposed as part of President Obama's stimulus package. Development of rail service has been talked about in the area for some time.
Last April, a Tulsa transit study showed train service would eliminate 20% of traffic on the Broken Arrow Expressway. But before we put the caboose before the engine, Sand Spring's City Manager cautions getting commuter rail service won't happen anytime soon, but requesting stimulus money is an important first step.
"This is a long term vision and it all starts with a dream," said Enevoldsen.
Long term plans for commuter rail service include linking downtown Tulsa with not only Sand Springs and Broken Arrow, but Owasso and Jenks as well.