June 17, 2024 - TRA Newswire -

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, speaking before officials from his state, Texas and Kansas, said that the expansion of the daily Heartland Flyer will be beneficial all towns and cities to be served, from Texas to Oklahoma and Kansas. His remarks were made during the 25th anniversary celebration of the train service at a well attended rail summit. 

Holt, Republican Mayor of the 16th largest U.S. city, was joined at the event by several Oklahoma and Kansas Senators and Representatives as well as tri-state department of transportation rail division directors, mayors, chambers of commerce heads, Amtrak, BNSF Railway and others who heard about progress in efforts to expand the Fort Worth to Oklahoma CIty train north to Kansas. 

Cory Davis, Kansas DOT Director of Multimodal Transportation and Innovation, reported on progress of a Federal Railroad Administration Corridor Identification Grant to advance the project. A required FRA Service Development Plan is almost complete. Davis said that Kansas has finished an operational analysis of the train service, is almost done with determining capital investment needs and will be on the way to come up with an implementation schedule. A public update meeting will be scheduled for later this summer. 

Davis cited the support of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and others who have been very supportive of the Heartland Flyer expansion. Texas Department of Transportation Rail Division Director Jeff Davis, speaking at the summit, said that TxDOT continues to be a partner with the Oklahoma DOT on the passenger rail service from Fort Worth and Gainesville in the lone star state to Oklahoma. 

Oklahoma Senator John Haste, chair of both the sooner Aeronautics and Transportation and the Appropriations Subcommittee, said that the passenger rail expansion is indicitive of the growth on the I-35 corridor from Texas to Oklahoma and Kansas and will increase economic opportunties for all.  

The Heartland Flyer has experienced a substantial increase in revenue and ridership post-pandemic. On Sunday the northbound train boarded over 260 passengers at Fort Worth Central Station for Gainesville and stations in OKlahoma. 

The future northward expansion of the Heartland Flyer will add a number of cities and towns served to the national rail network, many of which have few or even no other public transportation options like bus or air service. 

Photo credit: Texas Rail Advocates