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Feeling 'cross'



Two articles in the Sept. 1 Oklahoma Gazette call for response.

Blair Humphreys (Commentary, "MAPS 3.1") is looking for ways to save nearly $25 million for possible relocation of an OG&E substation now positioned problematically with respect to Core to Shore, enabled by MAPS 3.

If most of that money becomes "saved," it can be applied to the enormously greater and wholly unnecessary cost of replacing OKC Union Station, purchased in 1989 for announced future use as a rail hub. Purchase was confirmed by former Oklahoma Transportation Director Neal McCaleb, who is now advocating highways.

Since the dissenting memorandum of Feb. 22, 1999, by Garner Stoll, then OKC's director of planning, numerous other concerns have been documented. Stoll presented nine major objections, and neither Stoll's nor any others have ever been meaningfully addressed.

Because Stoll would not bow before shadowy, special interest forces propelling Oklahoma in a very wrong direction, he was transferred to unbefitting work and left for Colorado. He is now assistant director of planning and zoning in Austin, Texas.

Someday, a majority of citizens of Oklahoma City will realize that they and our nation are being required unnecessarily to pay a huge price for a new rail hub whose quality will probably never equal that of the Union Station rail facility that ODOT has destroyed. A few of the important details are documented in editorials in The Norman Transcript on June 20 and 21, 2009.

A cover story in the same issue of the Gazette by Scott Cooper ("This boulevard is on a diet") quotes OKC Mayor Mick Cornett and ODOT engineer David Streb. These government officials are striving vigorously to change unwise and premature plans for replacement of the old Crosstown with a "boulevard."

Questions of Federal Highway Administration approval allegedly loom, but " when has the FHWA nixed ODOT's highway plans? The Oklahoma Department of Transportation with collaborators including the Federal Highway Administration have, to this date, created one of the greatest and costliest scandals in Oklahoma history " a disastrous miscalculation known as "the New I-40 Crosstown."
"Edwin Kessler

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