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Mass Transit downtown streetcar and eventual light rail plan details emerge at meeting

William F. O’Brien

The proposed plan for the mass transit system for downtown Oklahoma City was unveiled last week at a meeting held at the First Methodist Church Auditorium on NW 4th St.

Larry Hopper of the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, spoke of how Oklahoma City’s development.

He said it was shaped in large part by the streetcar system that was constructed in the downtown area in the early years of the 20th Century. The most recent MAPS project allocated $ 120 million for this modern streetcar system for the downtown area plus another $10 million for a multimodal transit hub centered at the modern bus station complex.

The plan that was being previewed was the result of a work of a committee that had input from the public in several meetings. Many other cities such as Dallas, Tucson, Seattle and Portland, have mass transit systems is similar to Oklahoma City’s plan. Mike McNealy, the project manager for the Jacobs Group that prepared the plan,

Using chars, he explained system would run in a parallel route from Reno Ave to 19th St in the Midtown area and would also include a route from 4th St that would connect to the Health Science Center and the State Capital Complex. The streetcars would be light rail vehicles that would stop every three or four blocks, and streetcar would come by at 12 minutes intervals during the day

While most light rail systems are powered by electricity it is possible that Oklahoma City’s streetcars could be powered by compressed natural gas, a fuel source that found abundantly in Oklahoma and which already powers many Metro Transit buses now traversing the city’s thoroughfares.

Unlike oil, there is a 100-year supply of U.S. natural gas, and it is likely the cleanest burning fuel now available.

Mc Anelly further reported that his firm estimated more than 1,200 people would ride on the system in its first operational year.

The estimated project cost would be $158 million, and it was explained that the project would need some matching federal funding as well. The federal government may contribute $ 75 million. It would e art of an effort to incentivize cities to develop and expand mass transit options to reduce automobile travel and its negative impact on the environment.

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