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  1. #51

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Great news on the regional transit authority front.

    The RTA Task Force and ACOG have selected Holmes & Associates LLC of Salt Lake City, Utah as lead consultant to provide legal, governance, funding, operational and other guidance as the Task Force moves forward with its mission of creating a regional transit authority for the Oklahoma City metro area.

    Holmes is directed by Kathryn Pett Holmes, who has extensive legal, governance, funding and right-of-way experience working with a number of regional transit authorities and federal transportation agencies. Ms. Holmes served as General Counsel and Secretary for the Utah Transit Authority and as General Counsel for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. She has also worked extensively with the Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration.

    As the Task Force views Salt Lake City's very successful light rail and commuter rail system as a model for Oklahoma City's future regional rail transit system, Ms. Holmes extensive background in the development, funding and management of that system will be very beneficial to our efforts to create a similar system for the OKC metro area.

    It is anticipated that Holmes will spend the next 12-18 months working with the RTA Task Force, ACOG and the participating metro area city governments to draft an official regional transit authority enabling agreement for consideration and approval by the city councils of those municipalities that will be a part of the new RTA.

    Stay tuned for more information as it develops.

  2. #52

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Transit group: Passenger rail is the ticket

    By: Brian Brus The Journal Record September 6, 2017

    OKLAHOMA CITY – Although the Legislature is struggling to balance the state budget, mass transit rail service funding cannot afford to be cut, said tribal, city and regional officials at an interim study conference Wednesday.

    Just the opposite, they said: It’s time to invest in expanding Amtrak service north of the Oklahoma City metro area to Tulsa or Wichita, Kansas, or both.

    “The interest from the general public is certainly there,” Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said. “This may not be the best economic time to be designing grand plans for Amtrak, but certainly we cannot afford to go backward. If you start reducing your funding to Amtrak or to eliminate funding altogether, I think it would be virtually impossible to ever get it started again.”

    The public presentation at the state Capitol was organized by state Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City. Guest speakers were overwhelmingly in favor of Amtrak expansion in the state, although dollar figures were not discussed. A few lawmakers questioned the justification of Oklahoma paying a larger subsidy than Texas for the Heartland Flyer route, whether light rail might soon be replaced by unpiloted drone aircraft, and the degree to which the state should help the company’s own growth.

    “I don’t want this to sound negative because I’m really intrigued by everything I’m learning here today,” said Rep. Roger Ford, R-Midwest City. “But when I look at the map … it almost seems to me that what we’re doing is asking Oklahoma and Kansas to financially support what would benefit the national network.”

    “That is accurate,” Amtrak governmental affairs spokesman Todd Stennis said. “But let me explain it this way: Every state that operates intercity passenger rail service today, using us as the contract operator? They are contributing to that, just as the federal government is.”

    Amtrak’s rail network primarily radiates out of Chicago in long stretches, passing through Newton, Kansas, on the north side of Oklahoma and into Dallas-Fort Worth to the south. Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer connects Oklahoma City to the heart of Texas, but the line falls far short of connecting to Newton and the Wichita metro area.

    The situation creates a sort of cul-de-sac that has limited the line’s success, Stennis said. To test the viability of connecting Oklahoma City to the north, the company started running a bus between depots as a stopgap measure. Rider demand was strong, he said.

    In the best possible scenario for Oklahoma, Amtrak would branch north to Kansas as well as to the northeast through Tulsa and into St. Louis, Missouri, said Evan Stair, president of the grass-roots advocacy organization Passenger Rail Oklahoma. He suggested paying for the idea with dedicated tax collections similar to Oklahoma City’s successful MAPS issues.

    No one directly addressed his proposal, nor did attendees explicitly favor one extension to the exclusion of the other. Regardless of the choice, a rail expansion would also need more development of other mass transit modes at the terminus, said John Sharp, transportation director at the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments. Bus systems feed light rails, he said, which is why Oklahoma City officials are planning space for an intermodal hub near downtown.

    ACOG’s research suggests the population and employment will grow by 40 percent in the next 30 years, forcing roads to support about 50 percent more automobile traffic. Passenger rail will not only foster job development in the immediate vicinity but also engender stronger business-to-business connections among cities along the line, as has been the experience with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

    Neal McCaleb, Chickasaw Nation ambassador, said his tribe is willing to help fund an expansion because it would bring more customers to casinos and other tribal businesses. The Chickasaws have already made a commitment to significantly upgrade the Thackerville depot, he said.

    Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, said his organization will actively oppose reductions in state and federal funding of passenger rail service. He said the city cannot afford to become like Austin.

    “We spent two days down there hearing from them how bad things are,” he said. “Their Achilles’ heel is transportation, the one thing they did not plan. … In fact, they did the opposite. Their attitude was, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ So (city leaders) decided not to build it. They came anyway. That is going to be the thing that kills Austin one day, the inability to get around that metropolitan area. And that they can never afford to catch up.”

  3. #53
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I can remember the Texas Chief was full between OKC and Arkansas City, on it's way to Newton Kansas City, And Chicago......

  4. #54

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by warreng88 View Post
    Transit group: Passenger rail is the ticket

    By: Brian Brus The Journal Record September 6, 2017

    Neal McCaleb, Chickasaw Nation ambassador, said his tribe is willing to help fund an expansion because it would bring more customers to casinos and other tribal businesses. The Chickasaws have already made a commitment to significantly upgrade the Thackerville depot, he said.
    What depot? There isn't one there today.

  5. #55
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    They are planning to build one so both Oklahomans and Texans will take the train there to drop money on the their casino, they showed a diagram of where it would go at the meeting.

  6. #56

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Consultant hired for proposed regional transit authority

    By: Brian Brus The Journal Record September 11, 2017

    OKLAHOMA CITY – The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments has contracted with a player in developing Salt Lake City, Utah’s mass transit system to plan out the geopolitical structure of a new regional transit authority.

    A committee composed of ACOG staff and elected officials who serve on the organization’s board of directors awarded the $420,000 contract in a competitive bid process to Kathryn Holmes, head of Holmes & Associates, Executive Director John Johnson said.

    Holmes was the chief negotiator for the Utah Transit Authority about 15 years ago, helping that agency acquire 175 miles of Union Pacific Railroad track and rights of way for conversion to commuter rail. Since then, she has worked as general counsel at Westminster College and partner in a legal practice focusing on passenger rail infrastructure. Holmes described her operation to The Journal Record as small with several subcontractor relationships.

    The nonprofit leadership group formed a multi-municipal task force about a year ago to develop a new approach to commuter transit that could ultimately lead to a network of several linked modes, including rail, bus and bicycling. Early discussions included possibilities such as rail near the University of Oklahoma campus and Tinker Air Force Base linked at a hub in Oklahoma City. ACOG invited Edmond, Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Del City, Norman and Moore to the table.

    “I certainly think that we can define the governance and structure of the organization and where boundaries are going to be,” Johnson said. “This is going to require each of those cities to give up some authority that they normally have 100 percent control of. It’s going to require some rethinking of how we proceed.”

    Holmes said she is eager to study the Oklahoma City area at a deeper level to identify unique attributes that will define how a new regional transit authority will evolve.

    She and Johnson said Salt Lake City tops their lists of peer regions most appropriate for comparison. Johnson also cited Denver, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona, because they’re all heavily automobile-dependent cultures with large land areas to cover, unlike cities in the Northeast.

    Holmes cited the San Diego County model because it clearly defines a labor and construction relationship between the metropolitan planning organization and the individual member cities. The Portland, Oregon-based system has a separate streetcar component outside the regional transit authority. Arizona’s member municipalities run their own bus services with rail being managed out of a separate, centralized transit authority, she said.

    “That may or may not work for your community, given that you’ve already got three separate systems running of your own,” she said. “We’ll have to find out what your community’s values are and your overarching goals. We might pull ideas from several models to find something that works best.”

  7. #57

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by shawnw View Post
    They are planning to build one so both Oklahomans and Texans will take the train there to drop money on the their casino, they showed a diagram of where it would go at the meeting.
    I was fooled by McCaleb's use of "upgrade" as that implies there is an existing depot.

    Are they going to put the depot in tow where they can use existing sidings or will it be further south closer to WinStar?

  8. #58
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    The graphic they put on the screen seemed right next to the rail. I suspect they'd just shuttle folks to the door step of winstar.

  9. #59

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    http://journalrecord.com/2017/11/15/...-on-structure/

    I don’t have a sub so I can’t post the article. If someone does have a sub please post it.

  10. #60

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    In my hometown of Cincinnati, there are also multiple transit agencies and one of the local leaders proposed to consolidate them in 2020.

    The problem there is that multiple states are involved (Ohio and Kentucky). Ohio allows a sales tax to be levied specifically for transit up to I believe 1%, Kentucky does not. Meanwhile, the agency responsible for Cincinnati's bus system (and operates the city's streetcar for the city) needs a major influx of funding to remain sustainable and is proposing such a sales tax.

    http://www.go-metro.com/news/819/72/...etail%20Sample

    What interests me is that here, there is already a consolidation plan in play, and it doesn't seem that the existing agencies are failing so much as there's a desire to expand service.

  11. #61

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    You're correct. Our efforts in OKC to form an RTA are all about creating a comprehensive regional transit system in order to expand service and provide greater mobility options throughout the metro area. Yes, Embark (OKC), CART (Norman) and Citylink (Edmond) have improved their operations and are providing better services in their local areas. However, in comparison to other metro areas of similar size with regional systems, such as Salt Lake City, our combined systems are small by comparison and carry but a fraction of the total ridership. That's because all of our systems are primarily funded out of each city's general fund, whereas most larger regional systems receive a large part of their funding through a dedicated region-wide funding source, such as sales tax. Further, cities with RTA's and regional systems receive much greater consideration by the FTA when applying for federal funding for their transit systems. Without moving to a regional-based governance, funding and operational structure, we will continue to be very limited in our ability to expand transit services, both in mode type and area, to counter the worsening traffic congestion and other quality of life issues as a result of our regions continued accelerated growth.

    As you know, the problem with SORTA is not that it's an RTA. The problem is the majority of their funding comes from a small, so-called dedicated portion of the general fund of the City of Cincinnati that is derived from an "earnings tax", which is essentially a city income tax. It's a strange funding mechanism, compared to most RTA's that are funded through regional sales tax. It essentially places the funding of the regional transit authority at the mercy of City officials and their budget. That can and has caused problems for SORTA. In 2011, the City took more than $2.4 million from a supposed dedicated transit funding account to make up for a shortfall in the City's budget.

    Similarly, while the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA), which operates Embark, is touted as a regional transit authority, it is actually organized under the statutes of the State of Oklahoma as a city trust. COTPA has no dedicated funding source and receives the majority of its small operating budget on a year-by-year basis out of the general fund of the City of Oklahoma City. Further, it is governed not by a board of representatives from around the region, but mostly by OKC city officials, such as the City Manager, City Finance Director and City Council members. It's really just a city transit agency and not a regional transit authority.

    One of the greatest benefits to being one of the "last kids on the block" with an RTA and regional transit system is that we can look to all of the other cities across the country that have developed such systems and hopefully emulate their successes and avoid their failures at governance, funding and operations.

  12. #62

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    http://www.normantranscript.com/news...25ec7f9bd.html

    2025. Almost no reason to even be excited about this. Commuter rail will be so outdated with my cities having much better options by then and self driving cars are definitely going to put a hurt on transit by then.

  13. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    ^^^^^^^^
    Not exactly...

    No, autonomous cars will not “abolish transit” in dense cities

    Is transit headed for a collision with self-driving cars? David Z. Morris in Fortune writes about how anti-transit Republicans are using the prospect of self-driving cars to argue against transit investments.

    Alarmingly, he quotes nobody who can actually refute this argument, except in the fuzziest of terms.

    Here is the recommended response:

    We are currently in that phase of any new techno-thrill where promoters make grandiose claims about the obsolescence of everything that preceded them. Remember how the internet was going to abolish the workplace?

    In any case, technology never changes facts of geometry. However successful driverless cars become, transit will remain crucial for dense cities because cities are defined by a shortage of space per person. Mass transit, where densities are high enough to support it, is an immensely efficient use of space.

    (Remember, a great deal of bus transit is in places where densites are not high enough to allow it to succeed; this is evidence of anti-ridership “equity” or “coverage” policies, not of transit’s failure. Driverless taxis could certainly replace transit in those areas, assuming the pricing were gotten right, thus allowing transit agencies to focus on their core business.)

    In many cases, people talking about driverless cars replacing transit are talking from an outer-suburban point of view, based on the experience of low-density, car-dependent places that are unsuited to high-ridership transit. In those settings, if density is not increasing, they are probably right. Driverless taxis will be more efficient than transit in these areas.

    But all over the world, people are moving into dense cities, where even autonomous cars can’t replace a bus full of 60 people or a train full of hundreds. There simply isn’t enough space to put walls between every pair of travellers, as the car model of transportation requires. Nor will driverless taxis ever be there whenever you need them as great transit lines will. Like bikeshare systems, they will experience surges where many of the vehicles are in the wrong place.

    A city can of course choose to sprawl and avoid density to the point that driverless cars could dominate. But in so doing it will fail to create a place that the 21st century economy will reward. Real estate prices are already telling us that the market has chosen dense cities as the highest value form of development. There is no dense city in the world that does not rely heavily on transit, for reasons of space-efficiency that none of the new technologies can change. (Yes, autonomous vehicles will use space more efficiently than private cars do, but this is saying very little compared to what a great rapid transit network is achieving.)

    Again, technology never changes geometric facts. And the problem of cars in dense cities, and transit’s superiority there, is a geometric fact, a fact about space and its scarcity.
    http://humantransit.org/2014/11/no-a...se-cities.html

  14. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System


  15. #65

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    my cities having much better options by then and self driving cars are definitely going to put a hurt on transit by then.

    I can tell you that this belief has undoubtedly had a profound political chilling effect on leadership initiatives for the rail line to Tulsa. The new mayor there shares your beliefs.

    In Oklahoma City, I-35 down to Norman is a nightmare during rush hour with no additional highway capacity planned. If commuter rail were to be successful, it would almost certainly be that specific stretch. However, Edmond is about to become much more convenient for commuters once the bottleneck is removed at 50th street.

    Self-driving cars are a canard. They are coming undoubtedly. However, the same people promoting them as a solution are also inhibiting their ability to be successfully deployed. It is government at its worst.

  16. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    The president of Lyft completely disagrees that autonomous cars will be the end of mass transit. In fact he is proposing complete street type retrofits - including one propsed here for LA’s Wilshire Boulevard (hi PluPan!)- that actually put more emphasis on public transit and other modes. So much that Jeff Speck just endorsed his comments via Twitter:

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/18/tech...les/index.html

    https://twitter.com/jeffspeckaicp/st...51000889217024

  17. #67

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I'm not sure how public transit would help me. I've on the east side of I-35 and drive all over the metro. Not sure how one would do their shopping. First stop is feed store for 50 lb bags of feed, then Sam's club for the large bulk stuff, then stopping at a few places in OKC for a few items, doctor's appointments then back in Edmond for a few groceries.

  18. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    ^^^^^^^
    Public transit helps you by taking other drivers off of the road.

  19. #69

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Pioneer View Post
    Self-driving cars are a canard. They are coming undoubtedly. However, the same people promoting them as a solution are also inhibiting their ability to be successfully deployed. It is government at its worst.
    Totally agree. There is a certainly a place for autonomous vehicles in our transportation future. But the idea that traffic congestion and the need for rail transit in dense, highly populated metropolitan areas will be eliminated by autonomous cars is magical thinking. Further, much of the current autonomous vehicle propaganda opposing rail transit is being created and circulated by historically anti-transit organizations, such as the Cato Institute, which believe they can use the argument to create a wedge issue among transit supporters and undermine future transit system investment by the federal governemtnt.

    Some say self-driving cars will make transit obsolete. That’s wrong.

    Driverless Cars Won’t Make Transit Obsolete

  20. #70

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    We’ll see. Whether they solve traffic or not i don’t know. They will increase road capacity without even widening roads m. That’s one thing for sure.

    I meant to imply people wil opt for them. Cars are superior to transit in almost every way except for the fact they are less environmentally friendly and you can’t multitask(legally) while driving unless someone else drives. Plus there are people with suspendedor revoked licenses or simply can’t drive.

    Uber and Lyft seemed to have caused ridership to go down as nearly every transit agency in The US have reported a drop in ridership. So I can only imagine that autonomous cars will increase MPG or extend the fuel life of whatever fuel the car is using and will also give people the added benefit of being able to sit back and use the computer or go to sleep which they can’t currently do if they’re riding solo. Literally the only benefits of transit will be the social aspect and it will be more eco friendly. I’m guessing the other 10+ benefits the car has over transit now will be enough to put a big hurt on transit agencies but they raid funds drivers anyways so maybe it won’t be an issue.

  21. #71

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    ^^^^^^^
    Public transit helps you by taking other drivers off of the road.
    Are you sure about that? Public transit will increase density particularly around stations but most people will still drive regardless so traffic will increase.

  22. #72

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Ideally shared autonomous vehicles and streetcar/busses/light rail etc. will communicate and be happily married. Imagine being able to take the train to Norman for an OU game and having an autonomous vehicle arrive for you at the perfect time allowing you to hop on and go to your destination. If all vehicles were synced up to the same network, I'd imagine travel of the future could be very efficient and speedy. Shared autonomous vehicles could be the the answer to the last mile problem we've been hoping for and a wonderful compliment to public transit.

  23. #73

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    The president of Lyft completely disagrees that autonomous cars will be the end of mass transit. In fact he is proposing complete street type retrofits - including one propsed here for LA’s Wilshire Boulevard (hi PluPan!)- that actually put more emphasis on public transit and other modes. So much that Jeff Speck just endorsed his comments via Twitter:

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/18/tech...les/index.html

    https://twitter.com/jeffspeckaicp/st...51000889217024
    I saw those proposals and the chances of them seeing the light of day on a large scale are slim to none. Time will tell, but I’m not saying self driving cars will end transit, but will put a big hurt on it. I’m sure you know almost every transit agency in the US has reported a drop in ridership. Even in LA as the system is being expanded.

  24. #74

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross MacLochness View Post
    Ideally shared autonomous vehicles and streetcar/busses/light rail etc. will communicate and be happily married. Imagine being able to take the train to Norman for an OU game and having an autonomous vehicle arrive for you at the perfect time allowing you to hop on and go to your destination. If all vehicles were synced up to the same network, I'd imagine travel of the future could be very efficient and speedy. Shared autonomous vehicles could be the the answer to the last mile problem we've been hoping for and a wonderful compliment to public transit.
    I wouldn’t get your hopes up for shared transit. While Uber Pool and the like have been pretty successful, it’s been because of cost savings. I suspect most people will opt to ride solo in shared cars.

  25. #75

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Does OKC or the State own the rail to the Adventure District?

    I know the Chamber wants to expand the Streetcar to the OUHSC, and it's not that much further to hit the old rail line that goes to the Adventure District. Using the Chamber's political power to get the line to OUHSC, could we theoretically march east another mile or so, tie in to that rail already in the ground (obviously needs some improvements as well as overhead power)? Would we be able to get a good distance for our dollar compared to other systems since the right of way and rail already exist? Once to NE50th, the line could go west about 3/4 of a mile and terminate at the front door of the Omniplex and the Zoo, and within walking distance to Remington Park and the Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.

    1. This would be great for the NE side. It would address concerns that OKC does not care about lower income areas and that the streetcar is only for the rich living and playing downtown.
    1a. This would link the NE side directly to medical facilities as well as jobs, recreation, and entertainment areas.
    2. This would link downtown directly to Remington Park, The Zoo, and the Omniplex, as well as OUHSC.
    3. The opportunity would exist for a Park-And-Ride along I-35 near the Zoo, potentially easing commuter congestion from the North.
    4. A major stop at NE 23rd street would connect with the city's most heavily used bus route.



    Just some late evening thoughts...

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