Kansans optimistic on Heartland Flyer after victory for Chief

September 23, 2014

There’s a great deal of interest and activity going along the routes of the Southwest Chief and the Heartland Flyer.

Pete Meitzner, a member of the Wichita City Council and Vice Mayor and a Commissioner on the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission is an active advocate of extending the Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City to at least Wichita as a beginning to connect Chicago and Kansas City with more of Kansas, Oklahoma and Dallas/Ft. Worth. Mr. Meitzner has been working with Kansas DOT (KDOT) to make this a reality, and recently assembled a meeting with KDOT Secretary Mike King in Topeka during which Corridor Capital was invited to make a presentation on private-sector involvement in the service expansion.

His recent op-ed in the Wichita Eagle addressing opportunities on both routes is very insightful:

Wichita may have missed out on this round of federal transportation grants for the proposed Heartland Flyer passenger rail extension between Wichita and Oklahoma City, but there is still reason for optimism…

The transportation grant applications for the Southwest Chief and the Heartland Flyer included a financial commitment from KDOT, which also took a leadership role in securing similar endorsements from the states of Oklahoma and Colorado.

From the beginning of my involvement in the passenger rail issue, we have always been supportive of both rail projects.

Now that the Southwest Chief is on a long-term track of productive service to Kansas passengers, we can refocus our efforts on securing the Oklahoma City-Wichita route…

The current cycle of transportation grants has run its course, but it is imperative we continue our efforts to fill the “missing link” between Oklahoma City and Wichita… Now we need a renewed commitment from state and local officials to make it happen…

Read the rest of the story in the Wichita Eagle, 20 September 2014.

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