Oklahoma House Resolution Backs Flyer Extension

A resolution approved by the Oklahoma State House of Representatives supports an extension of Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer to Newton, Kansas.

The Oklahoma resolution is similar to one passed by the Kansas Senate last March that calls for a multistate partnership with Amtrak.

Deborah Fischer Stout, president of the Northern Flyer Alliance said her group hopes the resolutions will elevate the Heartland Flyer extension to top priority status for budgetary and Reauthorization Act funding for Amtrak in Congress.

The Heartland Flyer currently operates between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas, with funding from Oklahoma and Texas.

The extension would enable the Flyer to connect in Newton with the Southwest Chief and restore Amtrak service to Wichita.

Amtrak has not served Wichita since the Chicago-Houston Lone Star was discontinued in early October 1979.

The extension proposal anticipates Amtrak paying for capital startup costs but the states would be expected to eventually cover the operating costs.

Proponents of the extension expect ridership of the Heartland Flyer to double if it is extended to Newton and connects with the Southwest Chief.

The Flyer currently connects in Fort Worth with the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

The Kansas legislature earlier approved the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, which includes money for the operational expenses of the Heartland Flyer extension and the governor of Kansas has proposed funding be included in the state budget for preliminary work for the development of additional passenger rail service.

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