TULSA-OKLAHOMA CITY CORRIDOR INVESTMENT PLAN will create a framework for the future investments needed to provide passenger rail capacity and service through 2040. Technical work includes an analysis of market conditions in the corridor, development of reasonable program alternatives and an evaluation of the environmental impacts of those alternatives, and a recommended approach that balances the needs of various users of the corridor - whether commuters, intercity rail passengers, or rail freight - in a manner that ensures safe, efficient travel.
In 2008, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) established improved passenger rail service as a high investment priority for the nation’s transportation system. In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Congress appropriated $8 billion in capital assistance for high-speed rail corridors and intercity passenger rail service across the nation. Congress provided an additional $2.5 billion for this program in the Department of Transportation Appropriations Act of 2010.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a strategic plan, A Vision for High-Speed Rail in Americain 2009, which describes the agency’s plan for intercity passenger rail development. This strategic plan provided program guidance to implement the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program with funding provided by Congress through the appropriations acts.
High-Speed Rail Corridor Designations
As part of the effort to advance passenger rail service, the FRA has identified 11 high priority corridors for high-speed passenger rail service. The designation as a high-speed rail corridor makes a corridor eligible to receive funding for highway-rail grade crossing safety improvements, and recognizes the potential for high-speed rail activity.
The FRA designated the South Central High-Speed Rail Corridor on October 11, 2000 in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The corridor has three segments that extend outward from Dallas-Fort Worth. The southern segment extends 288 miles to San Antonio via Austin; the northeast segment covers 388 miles to Little Rock via Texarkana; and the northern segment travels 311 miles to Tulsa via Oklahoma City.
The proposed Tulsa-Oklahoma City passenger rail operation could be the first high-speed rail operation in the South Central Corridor as the existing services are conventional intercity passenger rail operations.
Yet the TULSA-OKLAHOMA CITY CORRIDOR INVESTMENT PLAN is not only a technical process. Equally important is the opportunity for a broad public dialogue to establish a future vision for the corridor. By bringing together numerous stakeholders from throughout the state, the project team structured the planning process to help foster a broad agreement on future directions for corridor investment.