Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Transit Subcommittee Mtg

My apologies for how posting has slowed down so much, basically I am still adjusting to coming back from Europe, and I am also waiting on my camera to arrive by post (I left my nice camera over there). But I did manage to make it to the MAPS3 Transit/Streetcar subcommittee meeting today.

I can't say it was all that eventful of a meeting, honestly. They did accept a report, rather than receive it. Apparently there is a very important distinction here. This is the kind of mundane, mind-scraping technicalities that the real public servants have to go through. This is what makes it harder to really serve (effectively) on these committees rather than just sit on a blog and criticize every move.

Some details emerging so far:
The hub will be a 3-phase project, and in total, it will cost around $125 million. This is just for the hub facility alone. The building itself, the Santa Fe Depot, will cost $2.5 million, and then it will probably cost another $2 million to renovate, according to one of the consultants, when asked. The bulk of the cost is in Phase 2 which will ready the station for Amtrak and commuter rail service--Amtrak preparations will cost $50 million alone and it is unclear how much of this can be covered by other levels of government, but I would assume a lot of it.

Consultants also spoke of how keen Norman was on the idea of commuter rail. The thing is that Norman is perhaps the most progressive city in Central Oklahoma, and has been highly supportive of transit issues in the region for a long time. A few years ago they even wrote a resolution against the destruction of the Union Station railyard, and that was at the behest of Tom Elmore, who even OKC's most ardent transit enthusiasts have distanced themselves from--despite that he does know his stuff. Norman has its own nice downtown that transit can be a catalyst for.

Those who stuck around were shown a tour of the Santa Fe Depot after the meeting, which began right after most of the MAPS3 Transit Subcommittee had finished jay-walking across E.K. Gaylord. It goes without saying it is a beautiful old building. Jill Adler, one of the subcommittee members, had a really awesome idea of somehow commemorating the former black-only waiting room in a way that memorializes OKC's civil rights history. I hope that happens.

1 comment:

Tom Elmore said...

Howdy. Tom Elmore here (see above). Despite my appreciation for the good words (the part about "knowing my stuff"), I'd question your conclusion that "even the most ardent train enthusiasts" in OKC have "distanced themselves" from Tom Elmore (me) -- as, according to "the state's largest newspaper" Tom Elmore IS the most ardent, etc., etc. (Well, actually the description its editorial writers employed was "rail zealot" -- which is not only shorter, but would likely buy roughly the same cup of coffee...) Further, for the record, it was actually two hard-headed Normanites who persuaded the Norman Council to consider a resolution asking then-Governor Henry to appoint an independent committee to revisit ODOT's disastrous plan for the destruction of the OKC Union Station rail plant. Unfortunately, this resolution failed by one vote, apparently via some of the same influence that arguably sent Oklahoma-derived transit funding to Utah in the late 1990s.