Passenger Rail Issue - Did ODOT Drop The Ball? - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Passenger Rail Issue - Did ODOT Drop The Ball?

Posted: Updated:

"Why haven't we had passenger rail service from downtown[OKC] to downtown[Tulsa] up to this time? Because ODOT has misrepresented the facts," said Rick Westcott, Chairman of the City of Tulsa's Passenger Rail Advisory Committee.

The facts date all the way back to 1998, when ownership of a stretch of railroad changed hands.

"This is a contract signed by the secretary of transportation," he said.

That's the year when BNSF sold a section of railway between OKC and Sapulpa to the state. BNSF however, kept ownership of that final stretch that connected Sapulpa to Tulsa, which to many, looked like a roadblock for passenger service from T-town to OKC.

"We always believed from what ODOT told us that Sapulpa was the end of the line, so to speak, for passenger rail," said Westcott.

So all those years go by with officials like Westcott thinking rail service is a no go, until...

"On page 13 of the contract," he said.

Just recently, when he actually read that contract from 1998, and there it was.

"A license to permit passenger operator to operate passenger rail service," read Westcott.

Translation; OKC and Tulsa could have had passenger rail service this whole time, since BNSF would have allowed it.

"Either ODOT and their lawyers somehow forgot about this clause on page 13 or they've intentionally misrepresented the fact to the citizens of Oklahoma," he said.

When asked for a reply to Mr. Westcott's assertions, ODOT replied; "The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has clarified the state-owned line runs from Midwest City to Sapulpa. ODOT does accurately represent its contract with BNSF. There are provisions for passenger rail service on the BNSF-owned line from Sapulpa to Tulsa and dispatch operations would have to be coordinated between the two rail lines and operators." They did not however, address allegations of whether they did or didn't describe the situation accurately in the past. Which brings us to the present and the ongoing battle to keep ODOT from selling the railway.

"And yet they're telling us, trust us, we'll take care of ya', you'll have passenger rail, trust us. Selling the line is the best thing for you," said Westcott.

  • Top Videos

  • NewsMore>>

  • Moving On After Gateway Market

    Moving On After Gateway Market

    With the grocery store at Pine and Peoria no more, area residents and retailers are reflecting on the impact of Gateway's closing."Yeah I used to shop there all the time," said Ezra Alexander.With bags hanging from his bicycle, Ezra is still getting use to the new, longer commute for groceries."It'd be a lot easier you know I make trips for my mother out here over on Pine and Madison here," he said.Also getting adjusted to Gateway's absence is Anntinette Aldredge, who works right next door at...More >>
    With the grocery store at Pine and Peoria no more, area residents and retailers are reflecting on the impact of Gateway's closing."Yeah I used to shop there all the time," said Ezra Alexander.With bags hanging from his bicycle, Ezra is still getting use to the new, longer commute for groceries."It'd be a lot easier you know I make trips for my mother out here over on Pine and Madison here," he said.Also getting adjusted to Gateway's absence is Anntinette Aldredge, who works right next door at...More >>
  • Seminole Co. Woman Reported Missing Under Suspicious Circumstances

    Seminole Co. Woman Reported Missing Under Suspicious Circumstances

    Seminole County Sheriff's Office has issued an alert for a missing woman. 42-year-old Kendra Leann Campbell was last seen on Wednesday around 1:40 p.m. Campbell lives north of Seminole City, but is originally from Tahlequah and frequently goes back to visit. Sheriff's deputies believe the circumstances of her disappearance to be suspicious. She was last seen wearing a black shirt, blue jeans and sandals.Anyone with information is asked to call the Seminole County Sheriff's Office at 405-257-5...More >>
    Seminole County Sheriff's Office has issued an alert for a missing woman. 42-year-old Kendra Leann Campbell was last seen on Wednesday around 1:40 p.m. Campbell lives north of Seminole City, but is originally from Tahlequah and frequently goes back to visit. Sheriff's deputies believe the circumstances of her disappearance to be suspicious. She was last seen wearing a black shirt, blue jeans and sandals.Anyone with information is asked to call the Seminole County Sheriff's Office at 405-257-5...More >>
  • 'Luminous Objects' Exhibit Lights Up First Friday Art Crawl

    'Luminous Objects' Exhibit Lights Up First Friday Art Crawl

    First Friday Art Crawl is lit up with an illuminating new gallery at the Living Arts space in the Brady District today. 'Chandelier Other Luminous Objects' was the artistic challenge placed before contemporary Oklahoma artists two years ago. The overwhelming support and intrigued art lovers brought the challenge back for the Brady Arts District art crawl.Three dozen chandeliers are featured at the exhibit, including floor and wall installed artworks.Geoffrey Simpson, a local artist who works...More >>
    First Friday Art Crawl is lit up with an illuminating new gallery at the Living Arts space in the Brady District today. 'Chandelier Other Luminous Objects' was the artistic challenge placed before contemporary Oklahoma artists two years ago. The overwhelming support and intrigued art lovers brought the challenge back for the Brady Arts District art crawl.Three dozen chandeliers are featured at the exhibit, including floor and wall installed artworks.Geoffrey Simpson, a local artist who works...More >>

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
loading...
Powered by WorldNow

P.O. Box 8 Tulsa, OK 74101-0008

Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTUL. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.