OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma lawmakers are studying the cost of a high-speed rail system that would link Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
An interim study sponsored by Sen. Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, was presented Tuesday to the Senate Transportation Committee, The Journal Record reported.
Supporters of the rail system said it could help the state in several ways, including in alleviating road congestion, promoting healthier lifestyles and increasing the quality of life in both areas. Opponents said it’s difficult to estimate costs and funding.
General contractor Jon McGrath said the estimated cost of the project would be between $2 billion and $3 billion. He recommended the rail system during the meeting, saying Oklahoma is lagging behind other states that have a passenger rail.
“I don’t think we should continue to be the last state to implement technology,” McGrath said.
McGrath also said that if the rail system met the national standard it could have the potential to travel as quickly as 220 mph, making trips between the cities less than half an hour long.
Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Mike Patterson said a passenger rail would have limited short-term benefits because less than 200 people would ride the train at a time.
“Based on our studies, it doesn’t make that much impact,” Patterson said. “What it will do is help mitigate any future expansion requirements.”
Information from: The Journal Record, http://www.journalrecord.com