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Lawton to OKC passenger train up for discussion

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The idea of a passenger train running from Oklahoma City to Lawton is being tossed around. A city committee is working on a short presentation for an interim study at the Oklahoma state Capitol in September. This study was started by two state representatives to discuss running a train route from Oklahoma City to Tulsa, which was bought by Stillwater Central Railroad in 2014.

When Lawton City Councilman Keith Jackson saw the stories of railways connecting Tulsa to OKC, he thought why not Lawton?

"I just think that Lawton is due the opportunity to see if we can get it done," Jackson said.

Jackson said he met with the city's lobbyist to get city representatives in front of legislators in order to state their case of why the railway should extend down to Lawton as well. The city is allowed a small amount of time during the hours-long interim study into the Tulsa to Oklahoma railway route.

"I think we'll make a good presentation,” Jackson said. “The data that Richard is putting together is stuff we didn't even know about.”

Lawton City Planner Richard Rogalski is busy crunching the numbers that he hopes will sway the decision to let Lawton in on the project.

"Comanche County and Oklahoma County, Comanche County and Grady County,” Rogalski said. “Look at all those commuters combined along that corridor, you actually have 7,800 people that are commuting daily, which is what I thought a pretty big number."

Rogalski said the infrastructure is already there with Stillwater Central Railroad already owning track from Lawton to OKC, along with the Tulsa route. The railroad has partnered with Iowa Pacific Holdings on the passenger project.

"It just comes down to will it work or will it not work," Rogalski said.

The future of passenger railways in Oklahoma is not set in stone. Councilman Jackson said these talks may never even leave the study. For now, if you want to go to Oklahoma City from Lawton, you have to drive.

A resolution of support will be voted on by city council on August 22 in order for the committee to move forward. The presentation at the state capitol is September 6.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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