Oklahoma, Texas Agree To Share Cost Of Heartland Flyer


Saturday, September 30th 2006, 3:21 pm
By: News On 6


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma and Texas state officials have agreed to share the cost of funding an already-established rail service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth.

The Heartland Flyer, operated by Amtrak, costs $4 million annually to operate. Federal funds for the route are ending, and the Oklahoma Legislature last year approved $2 million a year in funding for the rail line.

Texas transportation officials agreed this week to share the cost of the Heartland Flyer, Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Phil Tomlinson said Friday.

He said U.S. Sen Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, and former Democratic Lt. Gov. Jack Mildren helped assist in negotiations with Texas on the plan.

The Heartland Flyer began operating in June 1999, ending Oklahoma's 20-year drought of passenger rail service. Joe Kyle, the manager of the rail programs division of the Oklahoma Transportation Department, said it averages between 60,000 and 62,000 passengers a year.

The agreement between Texas and Oklahoma means the route can continue to operate, he said.

``We were very unsure about federal funds and had nothing promising on that side at all,'' Kyle said. ``As far as the current operating expenses, we are fairly secure in the expenses being covered.''