Posts Tagged ‘Kansas legislature’

Oklahoma House Resolution Backs Flyer Extension

May 17, 2020

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.

Kansas Legislature Support Amtrak Route Extension

March 28, 2020

The Kansas legislature has approved a resolution expressing support for extending Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer into Kansas.

The resolution urges the Kansas congressional delegation to support federal funding that would make the extension possible.

That is a reference to an Amtrak proposal for a dedicated federal appropriation to help states pay for new Amtrak corridor service.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has proposed setting aside state funding for preliminary work to develop passenger rail services.

The Kansas Department of Transportation’s FORWARD Kansas transportation plan recommends developing the Heartland Flyer extension from Oklahoma City to Newton, Kansas, where it could connect with the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

The resolution adopted by Kansas lawmakers said “numerous studies conducted by universities in Texas and Kansas have determined the economic benefit of Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer passenger rail service and its extension to be at least three to one for every dollar spent.”

The Heartland Flyer, which is funded by the states of Oklahoma and Texas, currently operates once a day between Oklahoma City an Fort Worth, Texas.