[Ok-sus] Meeting tomorrow at ODOT - An opportunity to speak up for righteous rail development in Oklahoma

Tom Elmore gtelmore at aol.com
Wed Oct 3 16:31:21 CDT 2012


See the links, below --?
Folks: As I understand the situation, the bottom has essentially fallen out of the gas market in the USA, therefore petroleum producers have shut down or reduced significant gas production and are now focused on liquid crude oil. This has apparently challenged pipeline transport capacity. Today, there's been a tremendous and very successful move to transport more crude oil by rail.
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This includes on some of Oklahoma's state-owned lines like the OKC-to-Tulsa corridor.
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So -- why on earth is the former ATSF Fairmont rail line between Guthrie and near-Enid being mindlessly destroyed -- a destruction which can never be recalled once it is completed?
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ODOT owned this line for about 10 years. ODOT claims that it has "made exhaustive efforts" to find a purpose and operators for the line. Having allegedly found none, ODOT sold the property to Montoff Company -- a known rail scrapper. The line is now being scrapped.
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I've talked to community government, business and other officials up and down the old Fairmont rail line -- who say that they've never been approached by ODOT about it in any way. In fact, most never had an inkling that ODOT ever owned the line. Now they can't get anybody to tell them what's going on -- as they watch this asset destroyed.
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Considering all the conflict that has broken out all along the proposed route of the "Keystone Pipeline" -- as US land-owners fight imposition of this dangerous conduit onto their property -- doesn't it make sense for us to leave as many of our heavy transport assets intact as possible, here in the "post-9-11-01 world?"

Beyond this, as long as there are rail lines serving?linking our?rural and smalltown areas to larger towns and metros, there's the prospect of COMMUTER RAIL.

The Rail Task Force, agenda below, is specifically discussing establishment of frequent commuter-type trains between OKC and Tulsa on state-owned rail line. This could greatly benefit even small, small towns like Wellston and Davenport -- which would then become newly-attractive to young families whose breadwinners work in the larger cities.

On the other hand, without commuter rail?-- if there's some sudden spike in motor fuel prices --?our small towns might?well?lose many of their young families to the need to be closer to work to avoid the higher price of operating automobiles.

Saving these rail lines (like the FAIRMONT line) amounts to saving the futures?of the small towns and rural areas that they serve.

If commuter trains are "good for the small towns between OKC and Tulsa," why?aren't they also good for the towns between Guthrie and Enid? (And as these lines are saved and improved, they will offer many, many other prospects for transporting goods and products -- taking the pressure off of our highway system!)
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Talk to your Oklahoma legislators about this. Discuss with them the fact that state law apparently allows ODOT to dispose of any such property as it sees fit -- without consultation with the people, businesses and communities of the state. Isn't it time to bring ODOT to real accountabilty?
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Thanks!
TOM ELMORE
Tel: 405 794 7163

gtelmore at aol.com
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http://enidnews.com/localnews/x1059023623/Landowners-company-clash-on-pipeline-plan 
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http://www.canada.com/business/Pipeline+protests+spur+companies+consider+shipping+oilsands+crude+rail/7071214/story.html
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http://www.cn.ca/en/shipping-north-america-crude-by-rail.htm
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http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/print-edition/2012/08/10/as-energy-companies-continue-to-invest.html?page=all

http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=55905
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http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/09/18/rail-companies-in-mad-rush-to-meet-demand-for-dome/
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http://www.abandonedrails.com/Guthrie_to_Fairmont
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http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/rail/rail-plan/pdfs/2012_RailPlan.pdf
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?????? (Quote - from Page ES-18, last paragraph: "Recently, ODOT sold a former rail segment known as the Fairmont-to-Guthrie Line following exhaustive efforts to return the rail line to regular use.")
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ODOT Director / Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley? -- Tel: 405 522 1800
ODOT Main Tel: 522-8000
John Doughterty - ODOT Rail Programs - 521-2771
Johnson Bridgewater, ODOT Rail Programs - 521-4164
David Streb -- ODOT Engineering Director - 521-6916
___________________________________________________________________

This meeting will apparently include an overview of ODOT's plans for development and finance of the
state's railway network for rail passenger and other service.
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It would likely be a good time to comment about or question this plan, especially the inexplicable
destruction of the former ATSF "Fairmont Rail Line" from Guthrie to near Enid via Crescent and Marshall.
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The destruction of this line by current owner Montoff, a well-known rail scrapper to whom the line
was knowingly sold by ODOT, is reportedly on-going.
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Thanks for your consideration.
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TOM ELMORE
Tel: 405 794 7163
gtelmore at aol.com
_____________________________________________

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2012 
@ 3:00pm 
Oklahoma Department of Transportation
Design Conference Room, 2nd Floor 
EASTERN FLYER PASSENGER RAIL DEVELOPMENT TASK FORCE
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AGENDA
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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2012
Oklahoma Deparment of Transportation
200 NE 21st, OKC
Design Conference Room, 2nd Floor -- 3:00 P.M.

1) Call to Order
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2) Approval of September 20th meeting minutes - Task Force Vote
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3) Opening Remarks
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4) Discussion upon ODOT white paper regarding activity and finance
??? on passenger rail program - Johnson Bridgewater, ODOT Rail Programs Office
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5) Additional notices
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6) Public comment session - Chairman Schirf, Presiding
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7) New Business for Next Meeting: TBD
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8) Adjourn
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