Plans for a proposed high-speed rail system in Oklahoma are available for public review at the Pauls Valley library.

People may review the environmental analysis on a proposal to provide passenger rail service between Oklahoma City and Tulsa

The local library, at 210 N. Willow St., is one of several sites in the state where the plans are available. Planners say providing public access to the documents is important because public comments are an integral part of the project’s funding application.

This project is different than one that proposes an Amtrak rail expansion from Oklahoma City to Wichita, Kan., and then to Kansas City.

Pauls Valley Mayor Tim Gamble is clear about his support for rail travel, saying it is a “safe alternative and very cost effective.” Gamble noted that ridership on the Heartland Flyer train, which stops daily in Pauls Valley, continues to increase.

Like everyone else, Gamble is not sure what’s next in the proposal to take the train’s route northward.

“We have worked diligently to keep our Amtrak coming through. We’ve been involved in it for a long time,” he said. “Part of that is just to support Amtrak. It’s been a chore just keeping it funded. The state has been very good at keeping it funded.”

A funding request for the Oklahoma City-Tulsa project would, if approved, provide for some improvements along the Heartland Flyer route from Oklahoma City to the Texas state line. The route continues to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The document available for review at the Pauls Valley library focuses on broad issues of establishing passenger rail service from Oklahoma City to Tulsa including identifying the project’s purpose and need, general location alternatives, a corridor-level inventory of potential effects and general methods available to avoid or minimize potential negative environmental effects.

If Oklahoma is selected for high-speed rail funding, more detailed environmental review, design and public involvement will be undertaken.

Comments about the Oklahoma City to Tulsa proposal may be submitted until Oct. 19 to: Environmental Programs Division Engineer, ODOT, 200 N.E. 21st St., Oklahoma City, OK 73105 or by e-mail at HSIPREnvironment@odot.org.

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