July 11, 2022 - TRA Newswire -

Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker has jumped aboard as a Heartland Flyer expansion train supporter with a letter to Amit Bose, Federal Railroad Administrator in Washington, D.C.

The letter outlines support for re-connecting passenger rail service from Fort Worth northward through Oklahoma City to Newton, Kansas and the national passenger rail network. The letter urges the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to include the route, that parallels I-35, in the Designated Corridor Identification and Development Program currently being put together at the federal level. Docket FRA-2022-003 is cited in the letter. 

Mayor Parker noted in her letter dated June 16, 2022 that "the extension is a long-held regional economic development and transportation objective to reconnect numerous Texas cities with Oklahoma and Kansas communities north to the national network via the Southwest Chief as Newton, Kansas and points across the nation.

The Corridor ID program is a subset of the $36 billion that Congress approved for freight and passenger rail improvements across the country in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law last October. According to the FRA, the Corridor program represents a major milestone in over five decades of Federal work on intercity passenger rail development. 

"Restoring the Heartland Flyer between Texas and Kansas is also an important means of fully connecting the nation's fastest growing economic development corridor located along Interstate 35 (Laredo, TX - Kansas City, Mo), boasting over 40 million in population, 10 million jobs and a 28% growth rate", according to the letter.

Within the I-35 rail corridor there are six major metropolitan areas, #7-San Antonio, #9-Dallas, #13-Fort Worth, #21-Oklahoma City, #48-Wichita and #35-Kansas City. 

The FRA plans to publish a notice soliciting proposals by eligible entities to participate in the Corridor ID Program in the last quarter of this calendar year.