[Ok-sus] Oklahomans need to hear this: Iowa Pacific's Ed Ellis tells it like it is about OKC-Tulsa passenger rail service

Tom Elmore gtelmore at aol.com
Mon Feb 3 22:59:48 UTC 2014

Thanks for the comments, David.

Aside from being a hard-headed visionary, Ed Ellis is a good businessman -- and a very nice fellow. 

His wife's family, by the way, is from Duncan, Oklahoma. 

In 1999, he was Vice President for Mail and Express for AMTRAK -- and it was his plan to make THE HEARTLAND FLYER a daily service both directions, Kansas City to Ft. Worth via OKC, all overhead costs not covered by ticket fare revenue covered by revenue from a First Class US Mail transportation contract -- which was waiting for the train the day it got to Kansas City.

Trouble is -- the train never got to Kansas City, despite Mr. Ellis's pleas to Neal McCaleb and ODOT.

You see, ODOT apparently did not want a truly useful, free-standing, self-supporting, daily rail passenger service operating between Ft. Worth and Kansas City via OKC each day. Is it possible that ODOT was somewhat sensitive about the skyrocketing "unfunded highway maintenance requirement" it was racking up -- then about to pass through an estimated $40 billion on its way to today's $100 billion + -- and found the idea of a healthy rail passenger service doing what it's "experts" had always insisted that passenger trains can't do to be embarrassing?

ODOT not only refused to take advantage of all prospects available to the it to make THE FLYER successful -- it also ate up the $23 million startup fund that accompanied the train to Oklahoma, and did so in less than four years -- quite deliberately turning what should have been a very successful, ground-breaking service into "one more ODOT subsidy case...."

In short -- the problem with the train was that it "wasn't a highway."

At ODOT, Rule 1 is "More highways are always the answer." 

Rule 2? "If more highways clearly AREN'T the answer, see Rule 1."

-----Original Message-----
From: DAVID SHEEGOG <davidsheegog at gmail.com>
To: Tom Elmore <gtelmore at aol.com>
Sent: Mon, Feb 3, 2014 4:32 pm
Subject: Re: Oklahomans need to hear this: Iowa Pacific's Ed Ellis tells it like it is about OKC-Tulsa passenger rail service

Well, Ted Ellis is very diplomatic, unlike you Tom, but that was a superb presentation. I don't know who Gwinn Faulconer-Lippert is, but if Iowa-Pacific gets a good response with the Feb runs they'll make a powerful case for passenger rail to and from Tulsa. d

On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 10:43 PM, Tom Elmore <gtelmore at aol.com> wrote:


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