The Oklahoma City Council, on Sept. 13, approved submission of a grant application to the U. S. Department of Transportation for $17 million. That $17 million, coupled with sales tax from MAPS 3, money from the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, would total $26 million to fund the first phase of a multimodal transit hub.
OKCs new hub will be located at the Santa Fe Depot. This location is beside the north-south Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks and is just west of Bricktown.
The tremendous present-and-future cost of the transit hub described above should have been unnecessary! The Union Station rail yard and terminal building were purchased during the Bellmon administration with a $1.2 million grant from the federal government as an ideal hub location for the states railway network.
This rail yard, 300 S.W. Seventh Street, Oklahoma City, was eight blocks long and 12 tracks wide, and located beside existing railroad tracks that led to Will Rogers World Airport.
the Union Station rail yard was doomed to be covered with asphalt when
in July 2008, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, ODOT Director Gary
Ridley and Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Vice President Dean Schirf
wrote letters to the Surface Transportation Board that favored running
the Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway realignment straight through the
Union Station rail yard.
Kessler of Norman filed a lawsuit, Kessler v. Surface Transportation
Board, in his attempt to save the Union Station rail yard. Likewise the
city councils of Norman, Shawnee, Chickasha and El Reno passed
resolutions asking that alternatives to the destruction of the Union
Station rail yard be considered all to no avail. Ironically, a slight
adjustment in the location of the I-40 realignment could have saved both
I-40 realignment and the Union Station rail yard.
Oklahoma City Council, with Mick Cornett in charge, ignored major
public pressure and continued to do nothing. ODOT was in charge of
destroying that rail yard and removal of railroad tracks leading from
downtown to Will Rogers World Airport.
destroying a perfect hub location already paid for, they now want to
spend multi-millions of taxpayer money to develop a new hub. The
question on everyones mind should be: Who benefits from this atrocity?
Wanda Jo Stapleton
Stapleton is a former Democratic state representative.
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