April 30, 2022 - TRA Newswire -

The Northern Flyer Alliance, a grass-roots group working to extend the current Fort Worth to Oklahoma City rail service north to Kansas, has been busy garnering support from cities, towns and state legislatures.

The alliance is now seeking more letters of support for a "Corridor Designation" which will be required by the Federal Railroad Administration to successfully receive federal funding. A state match for participation in establishing train service is another step in the process. 

A resolution of support was received from Oklahoma City this month, now added to 25 other entities that have added their positive backing for new passenger rail service, including as far away as Kansas City. 

In March the Kansas and Oklahoma Rail Caucus drew officials from chambers of commerce, city managers, mayors, departments of transportation and Amtrak, who would be the rail service provider. It was announced that Senator Jerry Moran (R) Kansas, has committed to seeking signatures from all DC legislators from the states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas in support of Designated Corridor identification. Meeting videos available here: Oklahoma Rail Caucus 25 March 2022 - YouTube   Kansas Rail Caucus 3 March 2022 - YouTube

At the March caucus Oklahoma Department of Transportation's Shelby Templin described the state's passenger rail legislation. It covers three different titles, or elements, of government from a revolving rail fund to operational support for a Multi-State Rail Compact. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has a section for multi-state compacts with up to $1,000,000 in federal funding available if Kansas and Texas would link up to Oklahoma's compact.

Other speakers at the March caucus included Deborah Fischer Stout of the Northern Flyer Alliance who reported on how other states are supporting their rail networks. Todd Stennis, Senior Manager at Amtrak, discussed next steps that will be required in the restoration and expansion of passenger rail service.

The Federal Railroad Administration started holding meetings with eligible entities and advocacy organizations in early 2022. Guidelines for securing Designated Corridor status are to be made public in mid-May. 

Photo credit: Amtrak