Next Time Take the Train…
Oklahoma will soon boast two passenger trains: the Heartland Flyer, operating since 1999, and the privately funded Eastern Flyer scheduled to begin this year. Their future though depends upon your calls. Both trains are jeopardized due to a $611 million state budget deficit.
The Heartland Flyer operates daily between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth. Intermediate stops include Norman, Purcell, Pauls Valley, Ardmore, and Gainesville, Texas. Last year the popular train carried 77,861 passengers.
The Eastern Flyer train will initially run between Sapulpa and Oklahoma City, with connecting luxury shuttle buses to metro Oklahoma City and Tulsa destinations, Bartlesville and Norman. A seamless Kansas City-Tulsa-Oklahoma City-Fort Worth train route is planned.
The problem: Amtrak raised Heartland Flyer contractual rates this year. The Oklahoma-Texas state compact must now pay $6.4 million. This has generated a $1.05 million FY-2015 contract deficit with legislatures unwilling to pay more. When one considers the Heartland Flyer as a foundation for the Eastern Flyer the situation becomes critical.
Senator Clark Jolley and Representative Earl Sears need to hear from you. Tell them about economic benefits derived from passenger rail service. A 2010 Texas Transportation Institute study, Measuring the Benefits of the Intercity Passenger Rail, A Study of the Heartland Flyer Corridor, indicates Oklahoma’s economy stands to lose $9 million, of which $700,000 are collected in local sales tax revenues, if the Heartland Flyer is discontinued.
Request these elected officials resist the temptation to empty the Oklahoma Tourism and Passenger Rail Revolving Fund. The surplus contained therein is urgently needed to keep the Heartland Flyer running and provide a future for the Eastern Flyer.
Senator Clark Jolley
Chairman Appropriations and GCCA Committees
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Rm. 537
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Representative Earl Sears
Chairman Appropriations and Budget
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For more information join these communities:
Facebook Friends of the Eastern Flyer
For Heartland Flyer reservations contact Amtrak
Official Eastern Flyer Information
Official Eastern Flyer Facebook Page
contact Evan Stair at EvanStair@PassengerRailOK.org
Copyright 2015, Passenger Rail Oklahoma