The Edmond Sun

Local News

February 22, 2013

Local commuter rail would depend on cooperation of railways

EDMOND — Building three proposed commuter rail corridors from a downtown Oklahoma City hub will depend in part on whether existing railway companies believe the project benefits their interests, according to a recent meeting of the Regional Transit Dialogue Steering Committee.

Three rail corridors are suggested in the RTD study including a link to the $120 million modern street car system being constructed with an intermodal hub in downtown Oklahoma City. RTD calls for the hub to link Edmond, Norman, Midwest City and Tinker Air Force Base.

Union Pacific is also open to learning more about the project, said Raquel Espinoza, Union Pacific director of corporate relations and media.

“We generally do work with communities that are interested in exploring passenger rail,” Espinoza told The Edmond Sun.

Espanoza said the top priority of Union Pacific is to support the businesses that are counting on the railway to ship their goods.

“Aside from that we’re open to reviewing plans for feasible projects that involves commuter rail,” she said.

The rail lines don’t want there to be a disturbance in moving freight, said Marion Hutchison, an appointed citizen member of the RTD II Steering Committee. He is also chairman of OnTrac, a not-for-profit rail transit public interest organization.

“Everybody can understand that and there have been discussions with them about that concept,” Hutchison said. The RTD has been developing relationships with Union Pacific Railroad and the Burlington Santa Fe Railway.

“We’re going to work pretty hard through ODOT and their rail division because they clearly have a great relationship,” Hutchison said.

The Edmond Sun asked Burlington Northern Santa Fe if it would be interested in a plan if it provided for two main lines to be double tracked plus third-line sidings wherever they need them through the corridor.

“Our national standard policy is that we are for the advancement of passenger rail,” said Joe Faust, BNSF director of public affairs. “We listen to these proposals and where they make sense we will certainly continue that dialogue.”

Faust said BNSF likes to work with all the municipalities and agencies that are providing a valid proposal. Municipalities must first present a proposal. BNSF is open to dialogue to evaluate proposals to see if they are feasible, Faust said. Dialogue would continue depending on how a proposal impacts participating freight lines and freight transportation services, he added.

RTD is focusing on creating a Regional Transit Authority. RTA would be represented by elected or appointed officials to develop a plan to operate the transit project. A ballot issue would be needed to take to voters for a dedicated funding source, Hutchison said. Dedicated funding would allow the expansion of bus systems as well as building a hub with a commuter rail system.

Two years ago, the City of Norman created a grade separation of Robinson Street to go under the BNSF railroad tracks. BNSF required Norman to develop a sub structure in order to drop in a third track.

BNSF which passes through Edmond wants to have a full double track of all of their two main lines to Texas. That’s what they would require, Hutchison said.

“Currently it’s not double track and that’s a big incentive if an RTA was willing to have the budgeting,” Hutchison said. “You’d have to double track that line, plus third-line sidings that are out there.”

The north to south line of BNSF runs 40-50 trains a day through Oklahoma City, Hutchison said. A double-track the existing right-of-way would be a win for all parties, Hutchison said.

Union Pacific runs east to west. So a deal would need to be made with Union Pacific to run commuter rail to Midwest City for a short distance. The primary requirement of Union Pacific would be separate operations from their main line, Hutchison said. Most of those right-of-ways have room for two tracks, Hutchison said.

“Once you get over the Oklahoma River, the line running to Tinker is owned by the state,” Hutchison said. “But to get from downtown to that point, part of it is Union Pacific.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Gas State gas price plummets 18 cents in 25 days

    Abundant domestic refinery production is behind a steep 18-cent plunge in Oklahoma gasoline prices at the pump during the last 25 days, AAA reports.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings

    On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of tax subsidies being provided to people who bought “Obamacare” health insurance policies in Oklahoma and 35 other states.
    Here’s a look at the rulings’ potential impact in Oklahoma.

    Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
    A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.

    July 22, 2014

  • June healthy month for Oklahoma jobs

    Nearly 10,000 new jobs in Oklahoma were created in June, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
    Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday the state experienced one of the largest increases in employment in the nation in June. More than 9,600 additional people joined the state’s workforce in June.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, its lowest ratio in six years. June’s rate was down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May and April, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

    July 22, 2014

  • Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
    “It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”

    July 22, 2014

  • Whataburger celebrates children’s superhero spirit with ‘Super-Duper’ event

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Super Duper Celebration! In the heart of every child lives a superhero and on Thursday Whataburger restaurants will celebrate the superhero spirit in all of us with an evening of family fun from 5-7 p.m. at its location at 421 S. Broadway.
    Customers can spend quality time with their little heroes and treat them to a superhero-themed celebration of food, activities and giveaways. Children 12 and under dressed in a superhero costume will receive a free kid’s meal. There will be a Whataburger photo booth and Whataburger’s mascot, Whataguy, will also be present to join the fun.

    July 22, 2014

  • Kenya Edmond man confesses to crimes in Kenya

    A federal grand jury alleges a 19-year-old Edmond man staying at a children’s’ home in Kenya engaged in illicit sexual conduct with residents ages 4-9.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS includes Edmond in heat advisory

    The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for areas including Edmond.
    It will be in effect from noon Tuesday to 7 p.m. Wednesday, a period during which afternoon heat index values will be near 105 degrees. Individuals exposed to the extreme heat for a prolonged period may develop heat-related illnesses, according to the NWS.

    July 22, 2014

  • Police respond to toddler tragedy at park

    A 2-year-old child has died after a tragic incident during the weekend at a popular Edmond park, a police spokeswoman said.

    July 22, 2014

  • Germans from Russia group plans annual meeting in Edmond

    The Central Oklahoma Chapter of American Historical Society of Germans from Russia will have its annual All State meeting on Aug. 9 at the Memorial Road Mennonite Brethren Church, 4201 E. Memorial Road, in Edmond.

    July 22, 2014

  • Goddard Students learn about animal behavior

    Animals can be fun, friendly and sometimes dangerous. That is what the students at Goddard School on North Western are learning this summer and this week they are learning about pets.
    Each summer Goddard School’s across the nation choose from a provided list of curriculum to use with their students that would be popular with the children. From learning about insects to a tiger safari, each summer is filled with creative learning.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
CDC Director Warns Of A World Where Antibiotics No Longer Work Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results