By Jeff Bezdek
It has been more than 66 years since Oklahoma City had meaningful intracity rail transit. In 2009, voters took a huge leap toward our transit future by endorsing a $130 million-dollar downtown rail-based modern streetcar system and intermodal hub as part of MAPS 3.
The framework for Phase 1 of the streetcar system has now been approved. This initial route will connect civic treasures, institutions, major employers and new housing downtown, reinforcing the significant economic engine that drives sales tax revenue benefiting our entire city. In addition, we are in the process of acquiring the historic Santa Fe Depot to serve as our region's epicenter for all future rail transit activity.
The streetcar and intermodal hub are the first MAPS 3 projects to generate a dramatic return on the public dollar. The streetcar project has received $2.1 million of a $13.6 million federal grant. The remaining $11.5 million will be used for improvements to Santa Fe Depot. The streetcar project has also received additional federal funding to study expansion beyond the initial core route.
On the regional transit front, Mayor Mick Cornett is leading a planning committee of mayors and councilors from Edmond, Moore, Norman, Del City and Midwest City examining restoration of intercity rail transit. Future rail modes will intersect with the MAPS 3 Streetcar at Santa Fe Station.