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  1. #226

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    RTA UPDATE

    Moore City Council voted unanimously to approve the RTA Trust Indenture on Monday night. All six founding members have approved the historic agreement, which now goes into affect. The next step will be the appointment of individual trustees to the board of the RTA by the various city councils. Oklahoma City appoints two members, while Norman, Edmond, Moore, Midwest City and Del City each appoint one member. Starting early next year, the RTA will begin work on a comprehensive regional transit system plan and initiate discussions with BNSF, UP and SWC on utilizing their rail corridors for commuter rail service.

  2. #227

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Hutch - there is a lot of rhetoric going around that say we still won't see service for 10-15 years. With as long as the streetcar took I guess this makes sense, but is that your feeling as well?

  3. #228

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Pryor Tiger View Post
    Hutch - there is a lot of rhetoric going around that say we still won't see service for 10-15 years. With as long as the streetcar took I guess this makes sense, but is that your feeling as well?
    There are two difficult and critical steps to getting a regional transit system into operation. The first we just accomplished with the approval of the RTA Trust Indenture between the cities.

    The second is getting voters to approve a dedicated transit funding source. Once permanent funding is secured, the RTA can begin issuing bonds and receiving federal matching funds. At that point, system development can begin. Bus system expansion would likely take place in the first 3-5 years. During that period, Commuter Rail, BRT, Streetcar and Hub planning and development will commence, with initial rail service coming online in years 7-10.

    If we passed a funding measure tomorrow and really got after it, we could have a comprehensive metro-wide bus system and initial Commuter Rail line in operation within 7-10 years. But there's the kicker. The clock doesn't start until the member cities of the RTA are willing to ask the public to vote on a dedicated funding source, which is currently limited by state statute to sales tax. And we would need at least 1/2-cent to fund a modest system. And that's where it becomes very political.

    As Oklahoma is the only state in the country that doesn't allow cities to utilize ad valorem taxes to help fund city services, sales tax is the only option. As such, municipalities are very protective of their sales tax base, as they frequently seek voter approval for various temporary sales tax measures to fund public safety, storm water and other needs. Further, community development programs like MAPS and Norman Forward that are heavily supported by local chambers of commerce and the business community rely on temporary sales tax for funding.

    So, the answer to when we will have the initial bus and rail services of a regional transit system up and running really depends on when the various city council's decide to allow the citizens to vote for transit funding. And much of that decision depends on when our municipal and business leaders decide that regional transit is important enough to be willing to let go of a small share of the sales tax pie. If it's in the next 3-5 years, initial operations could be 10-15 years away. If they sit on their hands for another decade, it will be 2035-2040 before those services are in place. We really can't afford to wait that long.

    If you're a transit supporter and understand how critical a regional transit system is to ensuring our transportation and economic future, as well as improving our quality of life, it's imperative that you continue to let your city council members and community leaders know how important it is that we get going sooner rather than later.

  4. #229

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I moved all the recent BRT posts to this thread:

    http://www.okctalk.com/showthread.php?t=44738

  5. #230
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Apologies if someone like Hutch posted about this previously, but there's been lots of questions about cities that opted out of the RTA joining in the future. We had an ACOG CAC meeting last night and we got an RTA update (nothing we don't already know here), but I asked the question about cities like Mustang and Yukon joining in the future. The way the RTA is structured, cities CAN join later, but because they opted out of the initial "buy-in" (the $2M put up by the founding members), they will not be voting members, they will be at the mercy of the voting (founding) members going forward. The voting/weighting structure will not change as other cities are added, even though those cities will have to help fund the system as members. We were told this is similar to how other RTAs have done things.

    Also, unfortunately, ACOG expects an RTA-wide funding vote won't take place for 3-4 years, 2 at the absolute earliest. That was disappointing to hear.

  6. #231

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Mayor Holt just announced that he is appointing Governor Brad Henry and Mary Melon to be OKC's representatives on the newly-formed RTA.

    https://twitter.com/davidfholt/statu...45842928992256

  7. #232

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Very exciting news! Great leadership is critical to the success of the RTA. Mayor Holt's appointment of Brad Henry and Mary Melon will go a long way to ensuring that success.

  8. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I just hope they staff the board with folks who KNOW transit. Urban Pioneer would be a great board member, and perhaps someone from another city with successful regional transit.

    We do have great people but it's important to focus on the product and people knowledgeable/successful on it and not just great people we like or can run a business.
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  9. #234

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Why are Henry and Melon such great assets to regional transit in OKC?

  10. #235

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    The next critical and difficult step in creating a regional transit system is passing a region-wide dedicated funding referendum. That will require much more than technical studies and a system plan. The most important aspect of it will be public education and a successful marketing campaign.

    Consultants and transportation professionals at ACOG can handle the technical planning. But we'll need an RTA Board with strong leadership skills who know how to manage and win a major public campaign initiative. In that regard, we need a major public figure with broad regional support to lead the RTA Board and champion the effort. That person will become the "face" of regional transit for OKC in the years ahead. I believe Governor Henry will serve that role well. And it's my understanding that he is excited and enthusiastic about his new role.

    While Governor Henry and Ms. Melon will definitely need to do some homework to get up to speed with regional transit systems in general and all of our planning efforts and projects to date, that's not an issue. And what they bring to the table in terms of professionalism and public support and confidence is invaluable for the critical steps ahead.

    If it helps to ease concerns, I've been appointed to the RTA Board. So, there will be at least one Board member with comprehensive institutional knowledge of where we've been and how we got here over the last decade. And you can be sure that I'll share what I know with the other Board members to make sure our decisions are fully-informed.

  11. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I'm incredibly excited!! I feel like I've asked this before, but I simply don't recall the answer and I can't seem to find it looking back in this thread... I know there are some variables that will affect the timeline, but if you had to guess how far off we are from inaugurating commuter rail service along the BNSF corridor, what kind of time frame do you think is most probable?

  12. #237

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Also, keep in mind that until a permanent funding source is approved by the voters, the RTA will not be involved in the development and operation of any transit systems. And once funding is approved, the first thing the RTA Board will do is begin hiring the necessary full-time staff of transit planners, engineers, accountants, attorneys and other professionals with backgrounds in rail and bus transit development and operations to design, build, expand and run the regional transit system. So beyond the initial planning and marketing efforts, the primary work of the RTA Board down the road will be organizational oversight, including providing overall program direction and authorizations for annual budgeting, which could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. So it's imperative that there are RTA Board members with the necessary governance, legal and financial backgrounds and experience to successfully oversee a large organization of that nature.

  13. #238

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Hutch View Post
    If it helps to ease concerns, I've been appointed to the RTA Board.
    For my part, this is outstanding news. Congratulations, Hutch! Serve us well.

  14. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    YES, congrats Hutch. I'd also recommend UP and several others who are active on OKCTalk to be part of the board. Its really a movement that we need transit minds and political to come together (as you mention).

    Cheers!
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  15. #240
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System


  16. #241

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I was going to reply to a post on another tread but it seems that post really belongs here. As far as rapid translit and a regional system, if one is taking the .......bus, train, monorail etc into the city for shopping, a classes etc. and one has their books, brief case etc and then needs to go shopping ie stop at Sam's Club etc and then say the hardware store or other specialltiy stores, how does one do that. I cannot ammagine going to say a big box store and getting food, toliet paper, paper towels and all the usual stuff and stopping some where else for say a doctor's appointment and taking your medical records etc. How does one do this? If you can your truck you can stop at the feed store, then hardware store and then say Sam's club and then go to say a doctor's or denitist appointment. Or do you go to one place then say back to Edmond then catch another train/bus and go to another place and back home and repeats. Just trying to wrap my mind around why one would consider ridign such a thing. Does not seem practical to me. I usually ride around with a lot of stuff that I need in my truck and trying to figure out how one would carry that around when one is taking a train say to the city for shopping and doctor's appoinment and then on the the feed store.

  17. #242

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Also how would this work say for a family with the mom doing grocery shopping and then having to have diapper bags, toys and snacks for her kids ?

  18. #243
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I do this currently, ride the bus and stop for shopping. Often I'll have my work laptop. You just have to manage, multiple trips and such. I'll take two or three reusable bags with me. Whatever I can fit (the priorities usually) goes home with me that first trip. Sometimes I'll need to make a second trip for lower priorities later in the week. HUGE things like TP I'll order online. I get the recycled varieties anyway which most places don't carry. I'll do this on the way home from work instead of a dedicated trip usually. I see some people take collapsible baskets with them so they can carry more stuff home and only make one trip. When I was a kid, mom, sister, and I would walk a mile to the nearest grocery store and all three of us would have arms full of bags in the one trip back. Mom didn't want to take the bus (this was in Philly, and we didn't have a car). Taking the bus is an improvement. Sure a car is great, but it's doable if you want it.

  19. #244

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Sometimes it’s not a case of “why would someone want to”, but rather a case of not having other options.

  20. #245
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    When I was a kid we didn't have a choice. Currently I have a car, but choose to take the bus as much as possible. It's probably been a month since I drove it last. I went a stretch last summer of 3.5 months without driving it.

  21. #246

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    For close to a year I did it by choice, but it was fairly easy because we still had one car that my wife took to work and we used for shopping. I used the bus to get to work and back.

  22. #247

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I know whenever I stayed in places with public transit my trips to the store were closer together, which I really didn't mind much. I prefer to buy only a couples of meals worth of food at a time and return to the store frequently for more when needed. I find myself using up food more instead of letting it go to waste. As far as the bulk items such as dog food and larger items, most stores will ship to the doorstep so you wouldn't need to worry about carrying it on public transit. But I also have never noticed large wholesalers around public transit. It is just a difference in life style. When you live in the city you don't need to stock up for a month or two, and you usually have a store within a few minutes. Whereas out in the suburban/rural areas, stores can be up to 30 or 45 minutes away, making more sense to stock up on every thing in as few trips as possible.

  23. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by PaddyShack View Post
    I know whenever I stayed in places with public transit my trips to the store were closer together, which I really didn't mind much. I prefer to buy only a couples of meals worth of food at a time and return to the store frequently for more when needed. I find myself using up food more instead of letting it go to waste. As far as the bulk items such as dog food and larger items, most stores will ship to the doorstep so you wouldn't need to worry about carrying it on public transit. But I also have never noticed large wholesalers around public transit. It is just a difference in life style. When you live in the city you don't need to stock up for a month or two, and you usually have a store within a few minutes. Whereas out in the suburban/rural areas, stores can be up to 30 or 45 minutes away, making more sense to stock up on every thing in as few trips as possible.
    Great reply. I did the same thing when I lived in a much more urban area. It was convenient to pick up items to cook for dinner on the walk or bike ride home, so that's what I did pretty often.

  24. #249

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross MacLochness View Post
    Great reply. I did the same thing when I lived in a much more urban area. It was convenient to pick up items to cook for dinner on the walk or bike ride home, so that's what I did pretty often.
    Mirrors my experiences as well.

  25. #250
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Not to mention that in the smaller urban residences floor space is expensive. You donít want it taken up with big side-by-side refrigerators, freezers and pantries. In most of the world, those are minimized and food is not stored so much.

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