New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Transportation topics in KC
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by GRID » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:49 pm

Yea, but Manhattan would probably be a popular stop.  Seems like an area where "high speed" would work.

Regardless, it's good to see KC may soon have service to Wichita and OKC.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by dangerboy » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:22 pm

GRID wrote: Is there a reason why Denver is never talked about as a potentail leg from KC?  Is it just too far?
Yes.  Current US high speed rail plans focus on city pairs less than 500 miles apart.  Which is consistent with European HSR networks.  For example, Paris-Marseilles is 480 miles and Paris-London is under 300 miles.

Denver-KC is over 600 miles and there is no large city in between to form a corridor of multiple legs, like you have on the east coast.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by NDTeve » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:54 pm

LenexatoKCMO wrote: Out of our neighboring regional cities I think it is definitely the most attractive destination but it would be hard to compete now that SW flies to DIA for just a tad over $100 round trip - thats almost a whole days worth of skiing difference in time.  
Is that option cheaper than Frontier?
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by phxcat » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:24 pm

dangerboy wrote: Yes.  Current US high speed rail plans focus on city pairs less than 500 miles apart.   Which is consistent with European HSR networks.  For example, Paris-Marseilles is 480 miles and Paris-London is under 300 miles.

Denver-KC is over 600 miles and there is no large city in between to form a corridor of multiple legs, like you have on the east coast.
I think you would be hard pressed to link two cities that are more than 500 miles apart in Europe (western, at least- Russia would be a different story) without coming across another major city. 
GRID wrote: Yea, but Manhattan would probably be a popular stop.  Seems like an area where "high speed" would work.

Regardless, it's good to see KC may soon have service to Wichita and OKC.
Stop in Lawrence, Topeka, and Manhattan, and then you have a straight shot with no major landforms to Denver- with a low population density, I would think you could push the limits of high speed rail speed much more than you would in Europe or Japan.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:47 pm

any route less than 750 miles must be state-sponsored by 2013, according to legislation passed in the last couple of years. if kansas is successful with the initial KC-wichita-OKC route, the money would be better spent there with additional frequencies and higher speeds. just look at the traffic volumes on I-35 and the number of flights (and buses) between all of those cities! it far outweighs the travel demand in the KC-denver corridor.

if you ever want to get to denver by train, focus your efforts on restoring service between KC and omaha. while nebraska has been pretty chilly to amtrak subsidies, that's the only option being discussed that would get you there.

also, colorado is very much focused on passenger rail along I-25. they just won a grant to study that corridor.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by Zorobabel » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:04 am

grovester wrote: forgot about the 2-day brain fart, here's the reply from my KS senator Terrie Huntington

"I will support the enabling bill which will provide for federal stimulus dollars for the project, but please be aware that if and when the RR line comes through Kansas, it will cost the state $14 mm per year, because Amtrak does not run at a profit."
You know what I've never quite understood? Why is it in this country that elected officials at both the local and federal level have no problem subsidizing one form of transport--that is, the motor vehicle--with literally billions of dollars annually, yet they have so many reservations about helping to fund any other mode of transport? It's shocking, really. Not only does money go to building and maintaining highways and streets, but to countless other related costs as well. "A study by the International Center for Technology Assessment found that after accounting for government subsidies, pollution cleanup and other costs, the real price of gasoline is estimated to be somewhere between US$5.60 and US$15.37 per gallon."

Does anyone actually know how much revenue the Kansas state government receives from gasoline taxes and, conversely, how much they spend on all road/highway/etc. related expenses? I want to write a letter.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by NDTeve » Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:32 pm

between 5 and 15? Pretty big spread. Sounds like they have no clue.
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by Zorobabel » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:37 pm

Probably on the lower end at around $5, which would be equivalent to fuel prices in most other middle and high income countries around the world. Even Russia has higher fuel prices, and they produce more than 3 times as much as oil as they consume. In the US, on the other hand, we consume well over twice as much oil as we produce. Oil...another reason why we need to invest in other modes of transport. In China they will have built over 30,000 miles of high speed rail in a twenty year period (2000-2020). I wonder who's going to be better poised to deal with $150 oil whenever it returns again, whether that's 5 or 15 years down the road. But that's America and it's reactionary government policies, isn't it?

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by Highlander » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:05 pm

Zorobabel wrote: Probably on the lower end at around $5, which would be equivalent to fuel prices in most other middle and high income countries around the world. Even Russia has higher fuel prices, and they produce more than 3 times as much as oil as they consume. In the US, on the other hand, we consume well over twice as much oil as we produce. Oil...another reason why we need to invest in other modes of transport. In China they will have built over 30,000 miles of high speed rail in a twenty year period (2000-2020). I wonder who's going to be better poised to deal with $150 oil whenever it returns again, whether that's 5 or 15 years down the road. But that's America and it's reactionary government policies, isn't it?
If the "real" cost of gasoline was really 5$/gallon, I'd say we got the bargain of the century (and the last one too).  High speed rail is not going to help us deal with 150$/barrel oil prices.  At least it's not going solve the major issues.  As a former resident of Europe, I really enjoyed the option of travelling on high speed trains but the cities I visited and lived in also had very functional urban transportation systems.  I'd rather see us spend our money on being to move people within cities on efficient modern transportation systems which, hopefully, would become the driving force behind rearranging real estate priorities (and putting an end to unchecked sprawl).  I think having the bulk of the population living in sprawled cities that occupy hundreds of square miles is going to come back to bite us in a rather big way and we need to do what we can to start providing alternative ways of moving people within cities and creating a reason for people not to want to be on the periphery of Olathe.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by KCMax » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:46 am

Zorobabel wrote: You know what I've never quite understood? Why is it in this country that elected officials at both the local and federal level have no problem subsidizing one form of transport--that is, the motor vehicle--with literally billions of dollars annually, yet they have so many reservations about helping to fund any other mode of transport? It's shocking, really. Not only does money go to building and maintaining highways and streets, but to countless other related costs as well. "A study by the International Center for Technology Assessment found that after accounting for government subsidies, pollution cleanup and other costs, the real price of gasoline is estimated to be somewhere between US$5.60 and US$15.37 per gallon."

Does anyone actually know how much revenue the Kansas state government receives from gasoline taxes and, conversely, how much they spend on all road/highway/etc. related expenses? I want to write a letter.
Because one form of transport has millions of lobbyist dollars from corporations (Ford, GM) and unions (UAW), and the other does not.
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by Zorobabel » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:02 pm

Highlander wrote: If the "real" cost of gasoline was really 5$/gallon, I'd say we got the bargain of the century (and the last one too).  High speed rail is not going to help us deal with 150$/barrel oil prices.  At least it's not going solve the major issues.   As a former resident of Europe, I really enjoyed the option of travelling on high speed trains but the cities I visited and lived in also had very functional urban transportation systems.  I'd rather see us spend our money on being to move people within cities on efficient modern transportation systems which, hopefully, would become the driving force behind rearranging real estate priorities (and putting an end to unchecked sprawl).  I think having the bulk of the population living in sprawled cities that occupy hundreds of square miles is going to come back to bite us in a rather big way and we need to do what we can to start providing alternative ways of moving people within cities and creating a reason for people not to want to be on the periphery of Olathe.
I agree completely on the point about cities being too large. I personally hesitate to call any area with a population density of less than 1,500 per km2 "urban." But I also think HSR is a major part of the picture when we talk about reducing per capita oil consumption. Since Taiwan opened its HSR line from Taipei to Kaohsiung, for example, highway traffic, which had grown every year since the KMT came to the island and by the late 90s and early 00s was growing at a rapid rate, actually started to decline considerably and is still in the process of doing so. Japan is another example where we take both points: tightly compacted cities with well-designed urban transport connected by HSR, which makes owning a car or traveling by plane unnecessary. In that country car ownership rates have started to plummet recently as well.

Neither of those examples are applicable to America of course, but I think to ignore HSR is a mistake. That's not to say I think they should build HSR in the Midwest, because we by and large don't have the population density to support it. But I think it's all part of a bigger picture, and I am honestly afraid that the US is going to have an uncompetitive economy 25 years down the road because we haven't made the necessary infrastructure investments. Just my two cents.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:43 pm

back to the topic at hand (let's keep it that way): HB 2552 passed the House 112-10 today, which means that the effort to create a passenger rail revolving fund in the state of kansas has passed both chambers!

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by Zorobabel » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:49 pm

Amen!

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:06 pm

the amtrak feasibility study will be released next week. a press conference has been scheduled for next thursday in topeka. will post more detail when i have it.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:52 pm

DaveKCMO wrote: the amtrak feasibility study will be released next week. a press conference has been scheduled for next thursday in topeka. will post more detail when i have it.
KDOT hasn't officially announced, but the press conference is at 10 am this thursday in the KDOT office in downtown topeka. i may live tweet from @kclightrail.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by advocrat » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:38 pm

SB 409 Passenger Rail Service Program act was carried to the House floor today and recommended for passage. This may happen tomorrow morning.

DAVEKCMO has the details correct. When passed Kansas can move forward and complete FRA requirements for ARRA funding, such as a service development plan.  

Senators Dick Kelsey and Ty Masterson introduced the bill last month. The bill was drafted by one of the leaders of the Northern Flyer Alliance. It was an adaptation of a bill that was successful in Iowa and which has set that state on the path for future state supported Amtrak service west from the quad cities.

The talk about a route to Denver is an Alliance dream for the future.  The KC-OKC-Ft.Worth corridor was pursued because it is low hanging fruit and seems to best serve the immediate goal of getting service launched.  

Someone above mentioned how a KC Denver route would compete with Frontier Airlines. That concept doesn't compete.  However, Frontier Airlines can never compete with an Amtrak KC to Hays, Topeka to Abilene, or Russel to Denver, which is what state supported intercity service is about. It's safe, economical, energy efficient, environmentally friendly, virutally weather proof (when I-70 is shut down or KCI is fogged in).

The same holds true with regard to KC-Fort Worth    
Last edited by advocrat on Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:26 pm

here's the best article about today's press conference. i was there live-tweeting and capturing video (to be posted this evening).

alternative 3 is the likely winner (daytime service between KC and FTW), but of course has the highest capital costs. this would be shared by the three state governments and could receive up to 80% federal match.

as previously mentioned, kansas was awarded a recovery act grant to develop a Service Development Plan, which is required for seeking additional federal funds.

this is very good news for KC, as it potentially paves the way for topeka/lawrence/KC commuter rail (or simply added amtrak frequencies beyond the single train being discussed now).

also, the enabling legislation has passed both chambers of the KS legislature and is on its way to gov. parkinson.

thanks to all who called/emailed in support of this effort!

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by KCMax » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:59 pm

Thanks for staying on this Dave. Maybe this is a first step to getting Kansans to be a bit more friendly towards mass transit.
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:27 am

enabling legislation is on its way to the governor, with a signing ceremony in april. if you contacted your state legislator, please thank them for voting yes!

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