April 9, 2023 - JoplinGlobe.com -
Oklahoma officials are partnering with their Kansas counterparts in a bipartisan push to expand Oklahoma’s existing passenger rail line into Kansas, giving both states’ residents easier access to major east-west trains.
The two states have made a joint request that the Federal Railroad Administration add the Heartland Flyer passenger line expansion to its newly established Corridor Identification and Development Program. Such a designation would give the states access to the federal funds and the technical assistance needed to expand the passenger rail service over 185 miles from Oklahoma City to Newton, Kansas.
Currently, the Heartland Flyer passenger line, which is operated by Amtrak, runs from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas, and makes stops in Norman, Purcell, Pauls Valley and Ardmore in Oklahoma, and Gainesville, Texas.
“The proposed Heartland Flyer expansion would reconnect numerous Oklahoma and Kansas communities north to the national Amtrak network via the Southwest Chief,” said Steve Hale, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Transportation, in an email.
He said Kansas “is very much interested” in the project and believes the extension has a “compelling case” for being included.
Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt said he met privately with Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. secretary of transportation, last month to press for the rail line’s expansion. He said the expansion would help connect all of Texas and Oklahoma to the east-west passenger rail lines that run through Newton, Kansas.
Photo credit: Oklahoma.gov