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City Leaders Tout Benefits Of Expanded Rail Service Before Oklahoma House Committee

Nadya Faulx
KMUW/File photo
A train passes through Wichita on an inspection trip earlier this year.

Two Wichita City Council members were in Oklahoma Wednesday to discuss the potential expansion of Amtrak passenger rail service through the Midwest.

Pete Meitzner and James Clendenin visited the Oklahoma State Capitol to testify before the House Transportation Committee. They shared data to support a plan to extend Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer Route from Oklahoma City up to Newton.

Speaking after the meeting, Meitzner said filling the service gap between Oklahoma and Kansas would grow Amtrak ridership on the route, which reaches Fort Worth, Texas.

“We’re the 48th largest city and there’s only 3 or 4 cities in the top 50 that are not served by Amtrak today, so a population service like we are, it would over double the ridership," he said.

Meitzner said the next step is for Amtrak to do a ridership and a cost-revenue study. A train passed through Wichita on an inspection trip earlier this year, drawing dozens of excited onlookers to the platform at Union Station.

Wichita hasn’t had passenger rail service since the Lone Star route was halted in 1979.?


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Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.