Tulsa Transit Considering A Commuter Train

Monday, April 30th 2007, 5:40 pm
By: News On 6

A commuter train line could be headed to Green Country. Tulsa Transit is considering a plan for a commuter rail line between Broken Arrow and downtown Tulsa. The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports a new study shows a train service would eliminate about 20% of the traffic on the Broken Arrow Expressway, but the relief won't come soon.

Tulsa Transit is only a bus service now, but within 5 years it could be a rail line too. A consultant hired to examine how best to expand the service said Tulsa could go with more buses, but should first consider a rail line to Broken Arrow.

"There's a nostalgia factor so it might attract more people than the bus option," said Bill Cartwright with Tulsa Transit.

It's only because of an existing track between Broken Arrow and downtown Tulsa that a rail line is even being considered. A bus line would still be cheaper to get started, but the consultant says a passenger rail would pay off more with much greater benefits

"Rail could be a catalyst for economic development, particularly around the station locations," transit consultant Tim Schmidt said.

The rail line would have four stations, one each in downtown Broken Arrow and Tulsa, and two more along the way. The trip would take about 30 minutes, including the two stops, and cost $2 each way.

The study showed that high capacity buses running on dedicated highway lanes would work too, but not as many people would ride them.

Both options would require big investments, but the federal government has incentives for cities to build mass transit instead of more highways.

"All transit agencies are heavily subsidized by the federal government and this one would be no different, we would seek federal funding to pay for hopefully half the cost of the capital to do either one of these projects," said Cartwright.

The startup cost for the train is at least $43 million, mainly because of the cost of updating the crossings. The bus service would cost at least $22 million, because of some changes on the Broken Arrow expressway to mark off one of the lanes for the busses and people who carpool. Either option would take several years to get started, but with this study done Tulsa Transit has some numbers to help decide what to do.

To see the complete Broken Arrow To Tulsa Mass Transit Feasibility Study, click here
Watch the video:
Commuter Train Could Roll Through Tulsa

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